Skip to main content

Full text of "Wounds in the rain: war stories"

See other formats








Gift of 

Mrs. Mary Anne Whipple 



W^ar Stories 



Author of 

"The Red Badge of Courage," "Active Service," 
" War is Kind," etc. 

Frederick A. Stokes Company 


Copyright, 1899, by 

Copyright, 1899, by 

Copyright, 1899, by 

Copyright, 1900, by 

All Bights Reserved. 


dfcoreton jfrewen 


BREDH PLACE, SUSSEX, April* 1900. 

















TWENTY-FIVE men were making a road out of 
a path up the hillside. The light batteries in the 
rear were impatient to advance, but first must be 
done all that digging and smoothing which gains 
no encrusted medals from war. The men worked 
like gardeners, and a road was growing from the 
old pack-animal trail. 

Trees arched from a field of guinea-grass which 
resembled young wild corn. The day was still 
and dry. The men working were dressed in the 
consistent blue of United States regulars. They 
looked indifferent, almost stolid, despite the 
heat and the labour. There was little talking. 
From time to time a Government pack-train, led 
by a sleek-sided tender bell-mare, come from one 
way or the other way, and the men stood aside 


as the strong, hard, black-and-tan animals crowded 
eagerly after their curious little feminine leader. 

A volunteer staff-officer appeared, and, sitting 
on his horse in the middle of the work, asked the 
sergeant in command some questions which were 
apparently not relevant to any military business. 
Men straggling along on various duties almost in- 
variably spun some kind of a joke as they passed. 

A corporal and four men were guarding boxes 
of spare ammunition at the top of the hill, and 
one of the number often went to the foot of the 
hill swinging canteens. 

The day wore down to the Cuban dusk, in 
which the shadows are all grim and of ghostly 
shape. The men began to lift their eyes from 
the shovels and picks, and glance in the direction 
of their camp. The sun threw his last lance 
through the foliage. The steep mountain- range 
on the right turned blue and as without detail as 
a curtain. The tiny ruby of light ahead meant 
that the ammunition-guard were cooking their 
supper. From somewhere in the world came a 
single rifle-shot. 

Figures appeared, dim in the shadow of the 
trees. A murmur, a sigh of quiet relief, arose 
from the working party. Later, they swung up 
the hill in an unformed formation, being always 


like soldiers, and unable even to carry a spade 
save like United States regular soldiers. As they 
passed through some fields, the bland white light 
of the end of the day feebly touched each hard 
bronze profile. 

" Wonder if we'll git anythin' to eat," said 
Watkins, in a low voice. 

" Should think so," said Nolan, in the same 
tone. They betrayed no impatience ; they seemed 
to feel a kind of awe of the situation. 

The sergeant turned. One could see the cool 
grey eye flashing under the brim of the campaign 
hat. " What in hell you fellers kickin' about ? " 
he asked. They made no reply, understanding 
that they were being suppressed. 

As they moved on, a murmur arose from the 
tall grass on either hand. It was the noise from 
the bivouac of ten thousand men, although one 
saw practically nothing from the low-cart road- 
way. The sergeant led his party up a wet clay 
bank and into a trampled field. Here were scat- 
tered tiny white shelter tents, and in the darkness 
they were luminous like the rearing stones in a 
graveyard. A few fires burned blood-red, and 
the shadowy figures of men moved with no more 
expression of detail than there is in the swaying 
of foliage on a windy night. 


The working party felt their way to where 
their tents were pitched. A man suddenly 
cursed ; he had mislaid something, and he knew 
he was not going to find it that night. Watkins 
spoke again with the monotony of a clock, 
" Wonder if we'll git anythin' to eat." 

Martin, with eyes turned pensively to the stars, 
began a treatise. " Them Spaniards " 

" Oh, quit it," cried Nolan. " What th' piper 
do you know about th' Spaniards, you fat-headed 
Dutchman ? Better think of your belly, you 
blunderin' swine, an' what you're goin' to put in 
it, grass or dirt." 

A laugh, a sort of a deep growl, arose from the 
prostrate men. In the meantime the sergeant 
had reappeared and was standing over them. 
" No rations to-night," he said gruffly, and turn- 
ing on his heel, walked away. 

This announcement was received in silence. 
But Watkins had flung himself face downward, 
and putting his lips close to a tuft of grass, he 
formulated oaths. Martin arose and, going to 
his shelter, crawled in sulkily. After a long in- 
terval Nolan said aloud, " Hell ! " Grierson, 
enlisted for the war, raised a querulous voice. 
" Well, I wonder when we will git fed? " 

From the ground about him came a low chuckle, 


full of ironical comment upon Grierson's lack of 
certain qualities which the other men felt them- 
selves to possess. 


In the cold light of dawn the men were on 
their knees, packing, strapping, and buckling. 
The comic toy hamlet of shelter-tents had been 
wiped out as if by a cyclone. Through the trees 
could be seen the crimson of a light battery's 
blankets, and the wheels creaked like the sound 
of a musketry fight. Nolan, -well gripped by his 
shelter tent, his blanket, and his cartridge-belt, 
and bearing his rifle, advanced upon a small 
group of men who were hastily finishing a can 
of coffee. 

" Say, give us a drink, will yeh ? " he asked, 
wistfully. He was as sad-eyed as an orphan 

Every man in the group turned to look him 
straight in the face. He had asked for the prin- 
cipal ruby out of each one's crown. There was 
a grim silence. Then one said, " What fer ? " 
Nolan cast his glance to the ground, and went 
away abashed. 


But he espied Watkins and Martin surrounding 
Grierson, who had gained three pieces of hard- 
tack by mere force of his audacious inexperience. 
Grierson was fending his comrades off tearfully. 

" Now, don't be damn pigs," he cried. " Hold 
on a minute." Here Nolan asserted a claim. 
Grierson groaned. Kneeling piously, he divided 
the hard-tack with minute care into four portions. 
The men, who had had their heads together like 
players watching a wheel of fortune, arose sud- 
denly, each chewing. Nolan interpolated a drink 
of water, and sighed contentedly. 

The whole forest seemed to be moving. From 
the field on the other side of the road a column 
of men in blue was slowly pouring ; the battery 
had creaked on ahead ; from the rear came a hum 
of advancing regiments. Then from a mile away 
rang the noise of a shot ; then another shot ; in 
a moment the rifles there were drumming, drum- 
ming, drumming. The artillery boomed out sud- 
denly. A day of battle was begun. 

The men made no exclamations. They rolled 
their eyes in the direction of the sound, and then 
swept with a calm glance the forests and the hills 
which surrounded them, implacably mysterious 
forests and hills which lent to every rifle-shot the 
ominous quality which belongs to secret assassi- 


nation. The whole scene would have spoken to 
the private soldiers of ambushes, sudden flank 
attacks, terrible disasters, if it were not for those 
cool gentlemen with shoulder-straps and swords 
who, the private soldiers knew, were of another 
world and omnipotent for the business. 

The battalions moved out into the mud and 
began a leisurely march in the damp shade of the 
trees. The advance of two batteries had churned 
the black soil into a formidable paste. The 
brown leggings of the men, stained with the mud 
of other days, took on a deeper colour. Perspi- 
ration broke gently out on the reddish faces. 
With his heavy roll of blanket and the half of a 
shelter-tent crossing his right shoulder and under 
his left arm, each man presented the appearance 
of being clasped from behind, wrestler fashion, by 
a pair of thick white arms. 

There was something distinctive in the way 
they carried their rifles. There was the grace of 
an old hunter somewhere in it, the grace of a man 
whose rifle has become absolutely a part of him- 
self. Furthermore, almost every blue shirt sleeve 
was rolled to the elbow, disclosing fore-arms of 
almost incredible brawn. The rifles seemed light, 
almost fragile, in the hands that were at the end 
of these arms, never fat but always with rolling 


muscles and veins that seemed on the point of 
bursting. And another thing was the silence and 
the marvellous impassivity of the faces as the 
column made its slow way toward where the 
whole forest spluttered and fluttered with battle. 

Opportunely, the battalion was halted a-straddle 
of a stream, and before it again moved, most of 
the men had filled their canteens. The firing 
increased. Ahead and to the left a battery was 
booming at methodical intervals, while the in- 
fantry racket was that continual drumming which, 
after all, often sounds like rain on a roof. Di- 
rectly ahead one could hear the deep voices of 

Some -wounded Cubans were carried by in 
litters improvised from hammocks swung on poles. 
One had a ghastly cut in the throat, probably 
from a fragment of shell, and his head was turned 
as if Providence particularly wished to display 
this wide and lapping gash to the long column 
that was winding toward the front. And another 
Cuban, shot through the groin, kept up a con- 
tinual wail as he swung from the tread of his 
bearers. " Ay ee ! Ay ee ! Madre mia ! Madre 
mia ! " He sang this bitter ballad into the ears 
of at least three thousand men as they slowly 
made way for his bearers on the narrow wood- 


path. These wounded insurgents were, then, to 
a large part of the advancing army, the visible 
messengers of bloodshed and death, and the men 
regarded them with thoughtful awe. This dole- 
ful sobbing cry " Madre mia " was a tangible 
consequent misery of all that firing on in front 
into which the men knew they were soon to be 
plunged. Some' of them wished to inquire of the 
bearers the details of what had happened ; but 
they could not speak Spanish, and so it was as if 
fate had intentionally sealed the lips of all in 
order that even meagre information might not 
leak out concerning this mystery battle. On 
the other hand, many unversed private soldiers 
looked upon the unfortunate as men who had 
seen thousands maimed and bleeding, and abso- 
lutely could not conjure any further interest in 
such scenes. 

A young staff-officer passed on horseback. The 
vocal Cuban was always wailing, but the officer 
wheeled past the bearers without heeding any- 
thing. And yet he never before had seen such a 
sight. His case was different from that of the 
private soldiers. He heeded nothing because he 
was busy immensely busy and hurried with a 
multitude of reasons and desires for doing his 
duty perfectly. His whole life had been a mere 


period of preliminary reflection for this situation, 
and he had no clear idea of anything save his 
obligation as an officer. A man of this kind might 
be stupid ; it is conceivable that in remote cases 
certain bumps on his head might be composed 
entirely of wood ; but those traditions of fidelity 
and courage which have been handed to him 
from generation to generation, and which he has 
tenaciously preserved despite the persecution of 
legislators and the indifference of his country, 
make it incredible that in battle he should ever 
fail to give his best blood and his best thought 
for his general, for his men, and for himself. And 
so this young officer in the shapeless hat and the 
torn and dirty shirt failed to heed the wails of 
the wounded man, even as the pilgrim fails to 
heed the world as he raises his illumined face 
toward his purpose rightly or wrongly, his pur- 
pose his sky of the ideal of duty ; and the 
wonderful part of it is, that he is guided by an 
ideal which he has himself created, and has alone 
protected from attack. The young man was 
merely an officer in the United States regular 

The column swung across a shallow ford and took 
a road which passed the right flank of one of the 
American batteries. On a hill it was booming 


and belching great clouds of white smoke. The 
infantry looked up with interest. Arrayed below 
the hill and behind the battery were the horses 
and limbers, the riders checking their pawing 
mounts, and behind each rider a red blanket 
flamed against the fervent green of the bushes. 
As the infantry moved along the road, some of 
the battery horses turned at the noise of the 
trampling feet and surveyed the men with eyes as 
deep as wells, serene, mournful, generous eyes, 
lit heart-breakingly with something that was akin 
to a philosophy, a religion of self-sacrifice oh, 
gallant, gallant horses ! 

" I know a feller in that battery," said Nolan, 
musingly. " A driver." 

" Dam sight rather be a gunner," said Martin. 

" Why would ye ? " said Nolan, opposingly. 

" Well, I'd take my chances as a gunner b'fore 
I'd sit way up in th' air on a raw-boned plug an* 
git shot at." 

"Aw " began Nolan. 

" They've had some losses t'-day all right," in- 
terrupted Grierson. 

" Horses? " asked Watkins. 

" Horses and men too," said Grierson. 

" How d'yeh know ? " 

"A feller told me there by the ford." 


They kept only a part of their minds bearing 
on this discussion because they could already hear 
high in the air the wire-string note of the enemy's 


The road taken by this battalion as it followed 
other battalions is something less than a mile long 
in its journey across a heavily-wooded plain. It 
is greatly changed now, in fact it was metamor- 
phosed in two days ; but at that time it was a mere 
track through dense shrubbery, from which rose 
great dignified arching trees. It was, in fact, a 
path through a jungle. 

The battalion had no sooner left the battery in 
rear when bullets began to drive overhead. They 
made several different sounds, but as these were 
mainly high shots it was usual for them to make 
the faint note of a vibrant string, touched elu- 
sively, half-dreamily. 

The military balloon, a fat, wavering, yellow 
thing, was leading the advance like some new con- 
ception of war-god. Its bloated mass shone above 
the trees, and served incidentally to indicate to 
the men at the rear that comrades were in advance. 


The track itself exhibited for all its visible length 
a closely-knit procession of soldiers in blue with 
breasts crossed with white shelter-tents. The first 
ominous order of battle came down the line. 
" Use the cut-off. Don't use the magazine until 
you're ordered." Non-commissioned officers re- 
peated the command gruffly. A sound of clicking 
locks rattled along the columns. All men knew 
that the time had come. 

The front had burst out with a roar like a brush- 
fire. The balloon was dying, dying a gigantic and 
public death before the eyes of two armies. It 
quivered, sank, faded into the trees amid the flurry 
of a battle that was suddenly and tremendously 
like a storm. 

The American battery thundered behind the 
men with a shock that seemed likely to tear the 
backs of their heads off. The Spanish shrapnel 
fled on a line to their left, swirling and swishing 
in supernatural velocity. The noise of the rifle 
bullets broke in their faces like the noise of so 
many lamp-chimneys or sped overhead in swift 
cruel spitting. And at the front the battle-sound, 
as if it were simply music, was beginning to swell 
and swell until the volleys rolled like a surf. 

The officers shouted hoarsely, " Come on, 
men ! Hurry up, boys ! Come on now ! Hurry 


up ! " The soldiers, running heavily in their ac- 
coutrements, dashed forward. A baggage guard 
was swiftly detailed ; the men tore their rolls 
from their shoulders as if the things were afire. 
The battalion, stripped for action, again dashed 

" Come on, men ! Come on ! " To them the 
battle was as yet merely a road through the woods 
crowded with troops, who lowered their heads 
anxiously as the bullets fled high. But a moment 
later the column wheeled abruptly to the left and 
entered a field of tall green grass. The line scat- 
tered to a skirmish formation. In front was a 
series of knolls treed sparsely like orchards ; and 
although no enemy was visible, these knolls were 
all popping and spitting with rifle-fire. In some 
places there were to be seen long grey lines of 
dirt, intrenchments. The American shells were 
kicking up reddish clouds of dust from the brow 
of one of the knolls, where stood a pagoda-like 
house. It was not much like a battle with men ; 
it was a battle with a bit of charming scenery, 
enigmatically potent for death. 

Nolan knew that Martin had suddenly fallen. 
"What " he began. 

" They've hit me," said Martin. 

" Jesus ! " said Nolan. 


Martin lay on the ground, clutching his left fore- 
arm just below the elbow with all the strength of 
his right hand. His lips were pursed ruefully. 
He did not seem to know what to do. He con- 
tinued to stare at his arm. 

Then suddenly the bullets drove at them low 
and hard. The men flung themselves face down- 
ward in the grass. Nolan lost all thought of his 
friend. Oddly enough, he felt somewhat like a man 
hiding under a bed, and he was just as sure that 
he could not raise his head high without being 
shot as a man hiding under a bed is sure that he 
cannot raise his head without bumping it. 

A lieutenant was seated in the grass just behind 
him. He was in the careless and yet rigid pose 
of a man balancing a loaded plate on his knee at 
a picnic. He was talking in soothing paternal 

" Now, don't get rattled. We're all right here. 
Just as safe as being in church. . . . They're all 
going high. Don't mind them. . . . Don't mind 
them. . . . They* re all going high. We've got 
them rattled and they can't shoot straight. Don't 
mind them." 

The sun burned down steadily from a pale blue 
sky upon the crackling woods and knolls and fields. 
From the roar of musketry it might have been 


that the celestial heat was frying this part of the 

Nolan snuggled close to the grass. He watched 
a grey line of intrenchments, above which floated 
the veriest gossamer of smoke. A flag lolled on 
a staff behind it. The men in the trench volleyed 
whenever an American shell exploded near them. 
It was some kind of infantile defiance. Frequently 
a bullet came from the woods directly behind 
Nolan and his comrades. They thought at the 
time that these bullets were from the rifle of some 
incompetent soldier of their own side. 

There was no cheering. The men would have 
looked about them, wondering where was the 
army, if it were not that the crash of the fighting 
for the distance of a mile denoted plainly enough 
where was the army. 

Officially, the battalion had not yet fired a shot ; 
there had been merely some irresponsible popping 
by men on the extreme left flank. But it was 
known that the lieutenant-colonel who had been 
in command was dead shot through the heart 
and that the captains were thinned down to two. 
At the rear went on a long tragedy, in which men, 
bent and hasty, hurried to shelter with other men, 
helpless, dazed, and bloody. Nolan knew of it all 
from the hoarse and affrighted voices which he 


heard as he lay flattened in the grass. There came 
to him a sense of exultation. Here, then, was one 
of those dread and lurid situations, which in a 
nation's history stand out in crimson letters, be- 
coming a tale of blood to stir generation after 
generation. And he was in it, and unharmed. If 
he lived through the battle, he would be a hero of 

the desperate fight at ; and here he wondered 

for a second what fate would be pleased to be- 
stow as a name for this battle. 

But it is quite sure that hardly another man in 
the battalion was engaged in any thoughts con- 
cerning the historic. On the contrary, they 
deemed it ill that they were being badly cut up 
on a most unimportant occasion. It would have 
benefited the conduct of whoever were weak if 
they had known that they were engaged in a 
battle that would be famous for ever. 


Martin had picked himself up from where the 
bullet had knocked him and addressed the lieu- 
tenant. " I'm hit, sir," he said. 

The lieutenant was very busy. " All right, all 
right/' he said, just heeding the man enough to 


learn where he was wounded. " Go over that way. 
You ought to see a dressing-station under those 

Martin found himself dizzy and sick. The sen- 
sation in his arm was distinctly galvanic. The feel- 
ing was so strange that he could wonder at times 
if a wound was really what ailed him. Once, in 
this dazed way, he examined his arm ; he saw the 
hole. Yes, he was shot ; that was it. And more 
than in any other way it affected him with a pro- 
found sadness. 

As directed by the lieutenant, he went to the 
clump of trees, but he found no dressing-station 
there. He found only a dead soldier lying with 
his face buried in his arms and with his shoulders 
humped high as if he were convulsively sobbing. 
Martin decided to make his way to the road, deem- 
ing that he thus would better his chances of get- 
ting to a surgeon. But he suddenly found his 
way blocked by a fence of barbed wire. Such was 
his mental condition that he brought up at a rigid 
halt before this fence, and stared stupidly at it. 
It did not seem to him possible that this obstacle 
could be defeated by any means. The fence was 
there, and it stopped his progress. He could not 
go in that direction. 

But as he turned he espied that procession of 


wounded men, strange pilgrims, that had already 
worn a path in the tall grass. They were passing 
through a gap in the fence. Martin joined them. 
The bullets were flying over them in sheets, but 
many of them bore themselves as men who had 
now exacted from fate a singular immunity. Gen- 
erally there were no outcries, no kicking, no talk 
at all. They too, like Martin, seemed buried in a 
vague but profound melancholy. 

But there was one who cried out loudly. A 
man shot in the head was being carried arduously 
by four comrades, and he continually yelled one 
word that was terrible in its primitive strength, 
"Bread! Bread! Bread!" Following him and 
his bearers were a limping crowd of men less 
cruelly wounded, who kept their eyes always fixed 
on him, as if they gained from his extreme agony 
some balm for their own sufferings. 

" Bread ! Give me bread ! " 

Martin plucked a man by the sleeve. The man 
had been shot in the foot, and was making his way 
with the help of a curved, incompetent stick. It 
is an axiom of war that wounded men can never 
find straight sticks. 

" What's the matter with that feller?" asked 

" Nutty," said the man. 


"Why is he?" 

"Shot in th' head," answered the other, im- 

The wail of the sufferer arose in the field amid 
the swift rasp of bullets and the boom and shatter 
of shrapnel. " Bread ! Bread ! Oh, God, can't 
you give me bread ? Bread ! " The bearers of 
him were suffering exquisite agony, and often 
they exchanged glances which exhibited their 
despair of ever getting free of this tragedy. It 
seemed endless. 

"Bread! Bread! Bread!" 

But despite the fact that there was always in 
the way of this crowd a wistful melancholy, one 
must know that there were plenty of men who 
laughed, laughed at their wounds whimsically, 
quaintly inventing odd humours concerning bi- 
cycles and cabs, extracting from this shedding of 
their blood a wonderful amount of material for 
cheerful badinage, and, with their faces twisted 
from pain as they stepped, they often joked like 
music-hall stars. And perhaps this was the most 
tearful part of all. 

They trudged along a road until they reached a 
ford. Here under the eave of the bank lay a dis- 
mal company. In the mud and in the damp shade 
of some bushes were a half-hundred pale-faced 


men prostrate. Two or three surgeons were work- 
ing there. Also, there was a chaplain, grim- 
mouthed, resolute, his surtout discarded. Over- 
head always was that incessant maddening wail of 

Martin was standing gazing drowsily at the 
scene when a surgeon grabbed him. " Here, what's 
the matter with you ? " Martin was daunted. 
He wondered what he had done that the surgeon 
should be so angry with him. 

" In the arm," he muttered, half-shamefacedly. 
After the surgeon had hastily and irritably ban- 
daged the injured member he glared at Martin 
and said, " You can walk all right, can't you?" 
" Yes, sir," said Martin. 

"Well, now, you just make tracks down that 

" Yes, sir." Martin went meekly off. The doc- 
tor had seemed exasperated almost to the point of 

The road was at this time swept with the fire of 
a body of Spanish sharpshooters who had come 
cunningly around the flanks of the American 
army, and were now hidden in the dense foliage 
that lined both sides of the road. They were 
shooting at everything. The road was as crowded 
as a street in a city, and at an absurdly short range 


they emptied their rifles at the passing people. 
They were aided always by the over-sweep from 
the regular Spanish line of battle. 

Martin was sleepy from his wound. He saw 
tragedy follow tragedy, but they created in him 
no feeling of horror. 

A man with a red cross on his arm was leaning 
against a great tree. Suddenly he tumbled to the 
ground, and writhed for a moment in the way of 
a child oppressed with colic. A comrade imme- 
diately began to bustle importantly. " Here," he 
called to Martin, " help me carry this man, will 
you ? " 

Martin looked at him with dull scorn. " I'll be 
damned if I do," he said. " Can't carry myself, 
let alone somebody else." 

This answer, which rings now so inhuman, 
pitiless, did not affect the other man. " Well, all 
right," he said. " Here comes some other fellers." 
The wounded man had now turned blue-grey ; his 
eyes were closed ; his body shook in a gentle, per- 
sistent chill. 

Occasionally Martin came upon dead horses, 
their limbs sticking out and up like stakes. One 
beast mortally shot, was besieged by three or four 
men who were trying to push it into the bushes, 
where it could live its brief time of anguish with- 


out thrashing to death any of the wounded men 
in the gloomy procession. 

The mule train, with extra ammunition, charged 
toward the front, still led by the tinkling bell- 

An ambulance was stuck momentarily in the 
mud, and above the crack of battle one could 
hear the familiar objurgations of the driver as he 
whirled his lash. 

Two privates were having a hard time with a 
wounded captain, whom they were supporting to 
the rear, He was half cursing, half wailing out 
the information that he not only w r ould not go 
another step toward the rear, but that he was 
certainly going to return at once to the fronL 
They begged, pleaded at great length as they 
continually headed him off. They were not un- 
like two nurses with an exceptionally bad and 
headstrong little duke. 

The wounded soldiers paused to look impas- 
sively upon this struggle. They were always like 
men who could not be aroused by anything 

The visible hospital was mainly straggling 
thickets intersected with narrow paths, the 
ground being covered with men. Martin saw a 
busy person with a book and a pencil, but he did 


not approach him to become officially a member 
of the hospital. All he desired was rest and im- 
munity from nagging. He took seat painfully 
under a bush and leaned his back upon the trunk. 
There he remained thinking, his face wooden. 

" My Gawd," said Nolan, squirming on his 
belly in the grass, " I can't stand this much 

Then suddenly every rifle in the firing line 
seemed to go off of its own accord. It was 
the result of an order, but few men heard the 
order; in the main they had fired because they 
heard others fire, and their sense was so quick that 
the volley did not sound too ragged. These 
marksmen had been lying for nearly an hour in 
stony silence, their sights adjusted, their fingers 
fondling their rifles, their eyes staring at the in- 
trenchments of the enemy. The battalion had 
suffered heavy losses, and these losses had been 
hard to bear, for a soldier always reasons that men 
lost during a period of inaction are men badly 

The line now sounded like a great machine 


set to running frantically in the open air, the 
bright sunshine of a green field, To the prut of 
the magazine rifles was added the under-chorus of 
the clicking mechanism, steady and swift, as if the 
hand of one operator was controlling it all. It 
reminds one always of a loom, a great grand steel 
loom, clinking, clanking, plunking, plinking, to 
weave a woof of thin red threads, the cloth of 
death. By the men's shoulders under their eager 
hands dropped continually the yellow empty 
shells, spinning into the crushed grass blades to 
remain there and mark for the belated eye the 
line of a battalion's fight. 

All impatience, all rebellious feeling, had 
passed out of the men as soon as they had been 
allowed to use their weapons against the enemy. 
They now were absorbed in this business of hit- 
ting something, and all the long training at the 
rifle ranges, all the pride of the marksman 
which had been so long alive in them, made them 
forget for the time everything but shooting. 
They were as deliberate and exact as so many 

A new sense of safety was rightfully upon 
them. They knew that those mysterious men in 
the high far trenches in front were having the 
bullets sping in their faces with relentless and 


remarkable precision ; they knew, in fact, that they 
were now doing the thing which they had been 
trained endlessly to do, and they knew they were 
doing it well. Nolan, for instance, was overjoyed. 
" Plug 'em," he said : " Plug 'em." He laid his 
face to his rifle as if it were his mistress. He 
was aiming under the shadow of a certain portico 
of a fortified house : there he could faintly see a 
long black line which he knew to be a loop-hole 
cut for riflemen, and he knew that every shot 
of his was going there under the portico, may- 
hap through the loop-hole to the brain of an- 
other man like himself. He loaded the awkward 
magazine of his rifle again and again. He was 
so intent that he did not know of new orders 
until he saw the men about him scrambling to 
their feet and running forward, crouching low as 
they ran. 

He heard a shout. " Come on, boys ! We 
can't be last ! We're going up ! We're going 
up." He sprang to his feet and, stooping, ran with 
the others. Something fine, soft, gentle, touched 
his heart as he ran. He had loved the regiment. 
the army, because the regiment, the army, was 
his life, he had no other outlook ; and now 
these men, his comrades, were performing his 
dream-scenes for him ; they were doing as he had 


ordained in his visions. It is curious that in this 
charge he considered himself as rather unworthy. 
Although he himself was in the assault with the 
rest of them, it seemed to him that his com- 
rades were dazzlingly courageous. His part, to 
his mind, was merely that of a man who was 
going along with the crowd. 

He saw Grierson biting madly with his pincers 
at a barbed-wire fence. They were half-way up 
the beautiful sylvan slope ; there was no enemy 
to be seen, and yet the landscape rained bullets. 
Somebody punched him violently in the stomach. 
He thought dully to lie down and rest, but instead 
he fell with a crash. 

The sparse line of men in blue shirts and dirty 
slouch hats swept on up the hill. He decided to 
shut his eyes for a moment because he felt 
very dreamy and peaceful. It seemed only a 
minute before he heard a voice say, " There he 
is." Grierson and Watkins had come to look for 
him. He searched their faces at once and keenly, 
for he had a thought that the line might be 
driven down the hill and leave him in Spanish 
hands. But he saw that everything was secure, 
and he prepared no questions. 

" Nolan, " said Grierson clumsily, " do you 
know me ? " 


The man on the ground smiled softly. " Of 
course I know you, you chowder-faced monkey. 
Why wouldn't I know you?" 

Watkins knelt beside him. " Where did they 
plug you, old boy ? " 

Nolan was somewhat dubious. " It ain't much. 
I don't think but it's somewheres there." He 
laid a finger on the pit of his stomach. They 
lifted his shirt, and then privately they exchanged 
a glance of horror. 

" Does it hurt, Jimmie ?" said Grierson, hoarsely. 

" No," said Nolan, " it don't hurt any, but I 
feel sort of dead-to-the-world and numb all over. 
I don't think it's very bad." 

" Oh, it's all right," said Watkins. 

" What I need is a drink," said Nolan, grinning 
at them. " I'm chilly lying on this damp ground." 

"It ain't very damp, Jimmie," said Grierson. 

" Well, it is damp," said Nolan, with sudden 
irritability. " I can feel it. I'm wet, I tell you 
wet through just from lying here." 

They answered hastily. " Yes, that's so, Jim- 
mie. It is damp. That's so." 

" Just put your hand under my back and see 
how wet the ground is," he said. 

" No," they answered. " That's all right, Jim- 
mie. We know it's wet." 


" Well, put your hand under and see," he cried, 

" Oh, never mind, Jimmie." 

" No," he said, in a temper. " See for your- 
self." Grierson seemed to be afraid of Nolan's 
agitation, and so he slipped a hand under the 
prostrate man, and presently withdrew it covered 
with blood. " Yes," he said, hiding his hand 
carefully from Nolan's eyes, " you were right, 

" Of course I was," said Nolan, contentedly 
closing his eyes. " This hillside holds water like 
a swamp." After a moment he said, " Guess I 
ought to know. I'm flat here on it, and you fellers 
are standing up." 

He did not know he was dying. He thought 
he was holding an argument on the condition of 
the turf. 


" Cover his face," said Grierson, in a low and 
husky voice afterwards. 

" What'll I cover it with?" said Watkins. 

They looked at themselves. They stood in their 
shirts, trousers, leggings, shoes ; they had nothing. 


" Oh," said Grierson, " here's his hat." He 
brought it and laid it on the face of the dead man. 
They stood for a time. It was apparent that they 
thought it essential and decent to say or do some- 
thing. Finally Watkins said in a broken voice, 
" Aw, it's a dam shame." They moved slowly off 
toward the firing line. 

In the blue gloom of evening, in one of the 
fever-tents, the two rows of still figures became 
hideous, charnel. The languid movement of a 
hand was surrounded with spectral mystery, and 
the occasional painful twisting of a body under a 
blanket was terrifying, as if dead men were moving 
in their graves under the sod. A heavy odour of 
sickness and medicine hung in the air. 

" What regiment are you in ? " said a feeble 

"Twenty-ninth Infantry," answered another 

" Twenty-ninth ! Why, the man on the other 
side of me is in the Twenty-ninth." 

" He is ? . . . Hey, there, partner, are you in 
the Twenty-ninth?" 

A third voice merely answered wearily. " Mar- 
tin of C Company." 

" What ? Jack, is that you ? " 


" It's part of me. . . . Who are you ? " 

" Grierson, you fat-head. I thought you were 

There was the noise of a man gulping a great 
drink of water, and at its conclusion Martin said, 
" I am." 

" Well, what you doin' in the fever-place, then ? " 

Martin replied with drowsy impatience. " Got 
the fever too.'* 

" Gee ! " said Grierson. 

Thereafter there was silence in the fever-tent, 
save for the noise made by a man over in a cor- 
ner a kind of man always found in an American 
crowd a heroic, implacable comedian and patriot, 
of a humour that has bitterness and ferocity and 
love in it, and he was wringing from the situation 
a grim meaning by singing the " Star-Spangled 
Banner " with all the ardour which could be pro- 
cured from his fever-stricken body. 

" Billie," called Martin in a low voice, " where's 
Jimmy Nolan ? " 

" He's dead," said Grierson. 

A triangle of raw gold light shone on a side of 
the tent. Somewhere in the valley an engine's 
bell was ringing, and it sounded of peace and 
home as if it hung on a cow's neck. 

" And where's Ike Watkins ? " 


" Well, he ain't dead, but he got shot through 
the lungs. They say he ain't got much show." 

Through the clouded odours of sickness and 
medicine rang the dauntless voice of the man in 
the corner. 


HE could not distinguish between a five-inch 
quick-firing gun and a nickle-plated ice-pick, and 
so, naturally, he had been elected to fill the posi- 
tion of war-correspondent. The responsible 
party was the editor of the " Minnesota Herald." 
Perkins had no information of war, and no par- 
ticular rapidity of mind for acquiring it, but he 
had that rank and fibrous quality of courage which 
springs from the thick soil of Western America. 

It was morning in Guantanamo Bay. If the 
marines encamped on the hill had had time to 
turn their gaze seaward, they might have seen a 
small newspaper despatch-boat wending its way 
toward the entrance of the harbour over the blue, 
sunlit waters of the Caribbean. In the stern of 
this tug Perkins was seated upon some coal bags, 
while the breeze gently ruffled his greasy pajamas. 
He was staring at a brown line of entrenchments 
surmounted by a flag, which was Camp McCalla. 
In the harbour were anchored two or three 
3 33 


grim, grey cruisers and a transport. As the tug 
steamed up the radiant channel, Perkins could 
see men moving on shore near the charred ruins 
of a village. Perkins was deeply moved ; here 
already was more war than he had ever known 
in Minnesota. Presently he, clothed in the essen- 
tial garments of a war-correspondent, was rowed 
to the sandy beach. Marines in yellow linen 
were handling an ammunition supply. They 
paid no attention to the visitor, being morose 
from the inconveniences of two days and nights 
of fighting. Perkins toiled up the zigzag path 
to the top of the hill, and looked with eager eyes 
at the trenches, the field-pieces, the funny little 
Colts, the flag, the grim marines lying wearily on 
their arms. And still more, he looked through 
the clear air over 1,000 yards of mysterious woods 
from which emanated at inopportune times 
repeated flocks of Mauser bullets. 

Perkins was delighted. He was filled with ad- 
miration for these jaded and smoky men who lay 
so quietly in the trenches waiting for a resump- 
tion of guerilla enterprise. But he wished they 
would heed him. He wanted to talk about it. 
Save for sharp inquiring glances, no one acknowl- 
edged his existence. 

Finally he approached two young lieutenants, 


and in his innocent Western way he asked them 
if they would like a drink. The effect on the 
two young lieutenants was immediate and aston- 
ishing. With one voice they answered, " Yes, 
we would." Perkins almost wept with joy at this 
amiable response, and he exclaimed that he would 
immediately board the tug and bring off a bottle 
of Scotch. This attracted the officers, and in a 
burst of confidence one explained that there had 
not been a drop in camp. Perkins lunged down 
the hill, and fled to his boat, where in his 
exuberance he engaged in a preliminary alterca- 
tion with some whisky. Consequently he toiled 
again up the hill in the blasting sun with his 
enthusiasm in no ways abated. The parched offi- 
cers were very gracious, and such was the state of 
mind of Perkins that he did not note properly 
how serious and solemn was his engagement with 
the whisky. And because of this fact, and 
because of his antecedents, there happened the 
lone charge of William B. Perkins. 

Now, as Perkins went down the hill, something 
happened. A private in those high trenches 
found that a cartridge was clogged in his rifle. 
It then becomes necessary with most kinds of 
rifles to explode the cartridge. The private took 
the rifle to his captain, and explained the case. 


But it would not do in that camp to fire a rifle 
for mechanical purposes and without warning, 
because the eloquent sound would bring six hun- 
dred tired marines to tension and high expectancy. 
So the captain turned, and in a loud voice an- 
nounced to the camp that he found it necessary 
to shoot into the air. The communication rang 
sharply from voice to voice. Then the captain 
raised the weapon and fired. Whereupon and 
whereupon a large line of guerillas lying in the 
bushes decided swiftly that their presence and 
position were discovered, and swiftly they 

In a moment the woods and the hills were 
alive with the crack and sputter of rifles. Men 
on the warships in the harbour heard the old 
familiar flut-flut-fluttery-fluttery-flut-flut-flut from 
the entrenchments. Incidentally the launch of 
the " Marblehead," commanded by one of our 
headlong American ensigns, streaked for the 
strategic woods like a galloping marine dragoon, 
peppering away with its blunderbuss in the bow. 

Perkins had arrived at the foot of the hill, 
where began the arrangement of 1 50 marines that 
protected the short line of communication be- 
tween the main body and the beach. These men 
had all swarmed into line behind fortifications 


improvised from the boxes of provisions. And 
to them were gathering naked men who had been 
bathing, naked men who arrayed themselves 
speedily in cartridge belts and rifles. The woods 
and the hills went flut-flut-flut-fluttery-fluttery- 
flut-fllllluttery-flut. Under the boughs of a beau- 
tiful tree lay five wounded men thinking vividly. 

And now it befell Perkins to discover a Span- 
iard in the bush. The distance was some five 
hundred yards. In a loud voice he announced 
his perception. He also declared hoarsely, that 
if he only had a rifle, he would go and possess 
himself of this particular enemy. Immediately 
an amiable lad shot in the arm said : " Well, 
take mine." Perkins thus acquired a rifle and a 
clip of five cartridges. 

" Come on ! " he shouted. This part of the 
battalion was lying very tight, not yet being en- 
gaged, but not knowing when the business would 
swirl around to them. 

To Perkins they replied with a roar. " Come 

back here, you fool. Do you want to get 

shot by your own crowd ? Come back, 

! " As a detail, it might be mentioned that 

the fire from a part of the hill swept the journey 
upon which Perkins had started. 

Now behold the solitary Perkins adrift in the 


storm of fighting, even as a champagne jacket of 
straw is lost in a great surf. He found it out 
quickly. Four seconds elapsed before he discov- 
ered that he was an almshouse idiot plunging 
through hot, crackling thickets on a June morn- 
ing in Cuba. Sss-s-swing-sing-ing-pop went the 
lightning-swift metal grasshoppers over him and 
beside him. The beauties of rural Minnesota 
illuminated his conscience with the gold of lazy 
corn, with the sleeping green of meadows, with 
the cathedral gloom of pine forests. Sshsh-swing- 
pop ! Perkins decided that if he cared to extract 
himself from a tangle of imbecility he must shoot. 
The entire situation was that he must shoot. 
It was necessary that he should shoot. Nothing 
would save him but shooting. It is a law that 
men thus decide when the waters of battle close 
over their minds. So with a prayer that the 
Americans would not hit him in the back nor the 
left side, and that the Spaniards would not hit 
him in the front, he knelt like a supplicant alone 
in the desert of chaparral, and emptied his maga- 
zine at his Spaniard before he discovered that his 
Spaniard was a bit of dried palm branch. 

Then Perkins flurried like a fish. His reason 
for being was a Spaniard in the bush. When the 
Spaniard turned into a dried palm branch, he 


could no longer furnish himself with one adequate 

Then did he dream frantically of some anthra- 
cite hiding-place, some profound dungeon of 
peace where blind mules live placidly chewing the 
far-gathered hay. 

" Sss-swing-win-pop ! Prut-prut-prrrut ! " Then 
a field-gun spoke. " ^<?0?;z-ra-swow-ow-ow-ow- 
pum" Then a Colt automatic began to bark. 
" Crack-crk-crk-crk-crk-crk " endlessly. Raked, 
enfiladed, flanked, surrounded, and overwhelmed, 
what hope was there for William B. Perkins of 
the " Minnesota Herald? " 

But war is a spirit. War provides for those 
that it loves. It provides sometimes death and 
sometimes a singular and incredible safety. There 
were few ways in which it was possible to preserve 
Perkins. One way was by means of a steam- 

Perkins espied near him an old, rusty steam- 
boiler lying in the bushes. War only knows how 
it was there, but there it was, a temple shining 
resplendent with safety. With a moan of haste, 
Perkins flung himself through that hole which 
expressed the absence of the steam-pipe. 

Then ensconced in his boiler, Perkins comfort- 
ably listened to the ring of a fight which seemed 


to be in the air above him. Sometimes bullets 
struck their strong, swift blow against the boiler's 
sides, but none entered to interfere with Perkins's 

Time passed. The fight, short anyhow, dwin- 
dled to prut . . . prut . . . prut-prut . . . prut. 
And when the silence came, Perkins might have 
been seen cautiously protruding from the boiler. 
Presently he strolled back toward the marine lines 
with his hat not able to fit his head for the new 
bumps of wisdom that were on it. 

The marines, with an annoyed air, were settling 
down again when an apparitional figure came 
from the bushes. There was great excitement. 

" It's that crazy man," they shouted, and as 
he drew near they gathered tumultuously about 
him and demanded to know how he had accomp- 
lished it. 

Perkins made a gesture, the gesture of a man 
escaping from an unintentional mud-bath, the 
gesture of a man coming out of battle, and then 
he told them. 

The incredulity was immediate and general. 
"Yes, you did ! What? In an old boiler? An 
old boiler ? Out in that brush ? Well, we guess 
not." They did not believe him until two days 
later, when a patrol happened to find the rusty 


boiler, relic of some curious transaction in the 
ruin of the Cuban sugar industry. The patrol 
then marvelled at the truthfulness of war-corre- 
spondents until they were almost blind. 

Soon after his adventure Perkins boarded the 
tug, wearing a countenance of poignant thought- 


Unwind my riddle. 

Cruel as hawks the hours fly ; 

Wounded men seldom come home to die ; 

The hard waves see an arm flung high ; 

Scorn hits strong because of a lie ; 

Yet there exists a mystic tie. 

Unwind my riddle. 

SHE was out in the garden. Her mother came 
to her rapidly. " Margharita ! Margharita, Mister 
Smith is here ! Come ! " Her mother was fat 
and commercially excited. Mister Smith was a 
matter of some importance to all Tampa people, 
and since he was really in love with Margharita 
he was distinctly of more importance to this par- 
ticular household. 

Palm trees tossed their sprays over the fence 
toward the rutted sand of the street. A little 
foolish fish-pond in the centre of the garden 
emitted a sound of red-fins flipping, flipping. 
"No, mamma," said the girl, " let Mr. Smith wait. 
I like the garden in the moonlight." 

Her mother threw herself into that state of 


virtuous astonishment which is the weapon of her 
kind. " Margharita ! " 

The girl evidently considered herself to be a 
privileged belle, for she answered quite carelessly, 
" Oh, let him wait." 

The mother threw abroad her arms with a sem- 
blance of great high-minded suffering and with- 
drew. Margharita walked alone in the moonlit 
garden. Also an electric light threw its shivering 
gleam over part of her parade. 

There was peace for a time. Then suddenly 
through the faint brown palings was struck an 
envelope white and square. Margharita ap- 
proached this envelope with an indifferent stride. 
She hummed a silly air, she bore herself casually, 
but there was something that made her grasp it 
hard, a peculiar muscular exhibition, not discern- 
ible to indifferent eyes. She did not clutch it, 
but she took it simply took it in a way that 
meant everything, and, to measure it by vision, it 
was a picture of the most complete disregard. 

She stood straight for a moment ; then she 
drew from her bosom a photograph and thrust it 
through the palings. She walked rapidly into the 



A man in garb of blue and white something 
relating to what we call bed-ticking was seated 
in a curious little cupola on the top of a Spanish 
blockhouse. The blockhouse sided a white 
military road that curved away from the man's 
sight into a blur of trees. On all sides of him 
were fields of tall grass, studded with palms and 
lined with fences of barbed wire. The sun beat 
aslant through the trees and the man sped his 
eyes deep into the dark tropical shadows that 
seemed velvet with coolness. These tranquil 
vistas resembled painted scenery in a theatre, 
and, moreover, a hot, heavy silence lay upon the 

The soldier in the watching place leaned an 
unclean Mauser rifle in a corner, and, reaching 
down, took a glowing coal on a bit of palm bark 
handed up to him by a comrade. The men below 
were mainly asleep. The sergeant in command 
drowsed near the open door, the arm above his 
head, showing his long keen-angled chevrons at- 
tached carelessly with safety-pins. The sentry 
lit his cigarette and puffed languorously. 


Suddenly he heard from the air around him the 
querulous, deadly-swift spit of rifle-bullets, and, 
an instant later, the poppety-pop of a small volley 
sounded in his face, close, as if it were fired only 
ten feet away. Involuntarily he threw back his 
head quickly as if he were protecting his nose 
from a falling tile. He screamed an alarm 
and fell into the blockhouse. In the gloom of 
it, men with their breaths coming sharply between 
their teeth, were tumbling wildly for positions at 
the loop-holes. The door had been slammed, but 
the sergeant lay just within, propped up as when 
he drowsed, but now with blood flowing steadily 
over the hand that he pressed flatly to his chest. 
His face was in stark yellow agony ; he chokingly 
repeated : " Fuego ! For Dios, hombres ! " 

The men's ill-conditioned weapons were jammed 
through the loop-holes and they began to fire 
from all four sides of the blockhouse from the 
simple data, apparently, ' that the enemy were in 
the vicinity. The fumes of burnt powder grew 
stronger and stronger in the little square fortress. 
The rattling of the magazine locks was incessant, 
and the interior might have been that of a gloomy 
manufactory if it were not for the sergeant down 
under the feet of the men, coughing out : " For 
Dios, hombres ! Per Dios ! Fuego ! " 



A string of five Cubans, in linen that had 
turned earthy brown in colour, slid through the 
woods at a pace that was neither a walk nor a run. 
It was a kind of rack. In fact the whole man- 
ner of the men, as they thus moved, bore a rather 
comic resemblance to the American pacing horse. 
But they had come many miles since sun-up over 
mountainous and half-marked paths, and were 
plainly still fresh. The men were all practices 
guides. They made no sound in their swift travel, 
but moved their half-shod feet with the skill of 
cats. The woods lay around them in a deep 
silence, such as one might find at the bottom of a 

Suddenly the leading practice raised his hand. 
The others pulled up short and dropped the butts 
of their weapons calmly and noiselessly to the 
ground. The leader whistled a low note and im- 
mediately another practice appeared from the 
bushes. He moved close to the leader without a 
word, and then they spoke in whispers. 

" There are twenty men and a sergeant in the 


"And the road ?" 

" One company of cavalry passed to the east 
this morning at seven o'clock. They were escort- 
ing four carts. An hour later, one horseman rode 
swiftly to the westward. About noon, ten in- 
fantry soldiers with a corporal were taken from 
the big fort and put in the first blockhouse, to the 
east of the fort. There were already twelve men 
there. We saw a Spanish column moving off to- 
ward Mariel." 

" No more ? " 

" No more." 

" Good. But the cavalry ? " 

" It is all right. They were going a long march." 

"The expedition is a half league behind. Go 
and tell the general." 

The scout disappeared. The five other men 
lifted their guns and resumed their rapid and noise- 
less progress. A moment later no sound broke 
the stillness save the thump of a mango, as it 
dropped lazily from its tree to the grass. So 
strange had been the apparition of these men, their 
dress had been so allied in colour to the soil, their 
passing had so little disturbed the solemn rumina- 
tion of the forest, and their going had been so like 
a spectral dissolution, that a witness could have 
wondered if he dreamed. 



A small expedition had landed with arms from 
the United States, and had now come out of the 
hills and to the edge of a wood. Before them 
was a long-grassed rolling prairie marked with 
palms. A half-mile away was the military road, 
and they could see the top of a blockhouse. The 
insurgent scouts were moving somewhere off in 
the grass. The general sat comfortably under a 
tree, while his staff of three young officers stood 
about him chatting. Their linen clothing was 
notable from being distinctly whiter than those of 
the men who, one hundred and fifty in number, 
lay on the ground in a long brown fringe, ragged 
indeed, bare in many places but singularly 
reposeful, unworried, veteran-like. 

The general, however, was thoughtful. He 
pulled continually at his little thin moustache. 
As far as the heavily patrolled and guarded mili- 
tary road was concerned, the insurgents had been 
in the habit of dashing across it in small bodies 
whenever they pleased, but to safely scoot over it 
with a valuable convoy of arms, was decidedly a 
more important thing. So the general awaited 


the return of his practices with anxiety. The 
still pampas betrayed no sign of their existence. 

The general gave some orders and an officer 
counted off twenty men to go with him, and delay 
any attempt of the troop of cavalry to return from 
the eastward. It was not an easy task, but it was 
a familiar task checking the advance of a greatly 
superior force by a very hard fire from conceal- 
ment. A few rifles had often bayed a strong 
column for sufficient length of time for all stra- 
tegic purposes. The twenty men pulled them- 
selves together tranquilly. They looked quite 
indifferent. Indeed, they had the supremely cas- 
ual manner of old soldiers, hardened to battle as 
a condition of existence. 

Thirty men were then told off, whose function 
it was to worry and rag at the blockhouse, and 
check any advance from the westward. A hun- 
dred men, carrying precious burdens besides 
their own equipment were to pass in as much of 
a rush as possible between these two wings, cross 
the road and skip for the hills, their retreat being 
covered by a combination of the two firing parties. 
It was a trick that needed both luck and neat ar- 
rangement. Spanish columns were for ever prowl- 
ing through this province in all directions and at 

all times. Insurgent bands the lightest of light 


infantry were kept on the jump, even when 
they were not incommoded by fifty boxes, each 
one large enough for the coffin of a little man, 
and heavier than if the little man were in it ; and 
fifty small but formidable boxes of ammunition. 

The carriers stood to their boxes and the firing 
parties leaned on their rifles. The general arose 
and strolled to and fro, his hands behind him. 
Two of his staff were jesting at the third, a young 
man with a face less bronzed, and with very new 
accoutrements. On the strap of his cartouche 
were a gold star and a silver star, placed in a hor- 
izontal line, denoting that he was a second lieu- 
tenant. He seemed very happy ; he laughed at 
all their jests, although his eye roved continually 
over the sunny grass-lands, where was going to 
happen his first fight. One of his stars was bright, 
like his hopes, the other was pale, like death. 

Two practicos came racking out of the grass. 
They spoke rapidly to the general ; he turned and 
nodded to his officers. The two firing parties 
filed out and diverged toward their positions. 
The general watched them through his glasses. 
It was strange to note how soon they were dim to 
the unaided eye. The little patches of brown in 
the green grass did not look like men at all. 

Practicos continually ambled up to the general. 


Finally he turned and made a sign to the bearers 
The first twenty men in line picked up their boxes, 
and this movement rapidly spread to the tail of 
the line. The weighted procession moved pain- 
fully out upon the sunny prairie. The general, 
marching at the head of it, glanced continually 
back as if he were compelled to drag behind him 
some ponderous iron chain. Besides the obvious 
mental worry, his face bore an expression of in- 
tense physical strain, and he even bent his shoul- 
ders, unconsciously tugging at the chain to hurry 
it through this enemy-crowded valley. 

The fight was opened by eight men who, snug- 
gling in the grass, within three hundred yards of 
the blockhouse, suddenly blazed away at the bed- 
ticking figure in the cupola and at the open door 
where they could see vague outlines. Then they 
laughed and yelled insulting language, for they 
knew that as far as the Spaniards were concerned, 
the surprise was as much as having a diamond 
bracelet turn to soap. It was this volley that 
smote the sergeant and caused the man in the 
cupola to scream and tumble from his perch. 


The eight men, as well as all other insurgents 
within fair range, had chosen good positions for 
lying close, and for a time they let the blockhouse 
rage, although the soldiers therein could occasion- 
ally hear, above the clamour of their weapons, shrill 
and almost wolfish calls, coming from men whose 
lips were laid against the ground. But it is not 
in the nature of them of Spanish blood, and armed 
with rifles, to long endure the sight of anything so 
tangible as an enemy's blockhouse without shoot- 
ing at it other conditions being partly favourable. 
Presently the steaming soldiers in the little fort 
could hear the sping and shiver of bullets striking 
the wood that guarded their bodies. 

A perfectly white smoke floated up over each 
firing Cuban, the penalty of the Remington rifle, 
but about the blockhouse there was only the 
lightest gossamer of blue. The blockhouse stood 
always for some big, clumsy and rather incompe- 
tent animal, while the insurgents, scattered on two 
sides of it, were little enterprising creatures of an- 
other species, too wise to come too near, but joy- 
ously raging at its easiest flanks and dirling the 
lead into its sides in a way to make it fume, and 
spit and rave like the tom-cat when the glad, free- 
band fox-hound pups catch him in the lane. 

The men, outlying in the grass, chuckled deliri- 


ously at the fury of the Spanish fire. They 
howled opprobrium to encourage the Spaniards 
to fire more ill-used, incapable bullets. When- 
ever an insurgent was about to fire, he ordinarily 
prefixed the affair with a speech. " Do you want 
something to eat? Yes? All right." Bang! 
" Eat that." The more common expressions of 
the incredibly foul Spanish tongue were trifles 
light as air in this badinage, which was shrieked 
out from the grass during the spin of bullets, and 
the dull rattle of the shooting. 

But at some time there came a series of sounds 
from the east that began in a few disconnected 
pruts and ended as if an amateur was trying to 
play the long roll upon a muffled drum. Those 
of the insurgents in the blockhouse attacking 
party, who had neighbours in the grass, turned 
and looked at them seriously. They knew what 
the new sound meant. It meant that the twenty 
men who had gone to the eastward were now en- 
gaged. A column of some kind was approaching 
from that direction, and they knew by the clatter 
that it was a solemn occasion. 

In the first place, they were now on the wrong 
side of the road. They were obliged to cross it 
to rejoin the main body, provided of course that 
the main body succeeded itself in crossing it. To 


accomplish this, the party at the blockhouse would 
have to move to the eastward, until out of sight 
or good range of the maddened little fort. But 
judging from the heaviness of the firing, the party 
of twenty who protected the east were almost sure 
to be driven immediately back. Hence travel in 
that direction would become exceedingly hazard- 
ous. Hence a man looked seriously at his neigh- 
bour. It might easily be that in a moment they 
were to become an isolated force and woefully on 
the wrong side of the road. 

Any retreat to the westward was absurd, since 
primarily they would have to widely circle the 
blockhouse, and more than that, they could hear, 
even now in that direction, Spanish bugle calling 
to Spanish bugle, far and near, until one would 
think that every man in Cuba was a trumpeter, 
and had come forth to parade his talent. 


The insurgent general stood in the middle of the 
road gnawing his lips. Occasionally, he stamped 
a foot and beat his hands passionately together. 
The carriers were streaming past him, patient, 


sweating fellows, bowed under their burdens, but 
they could not move fast enough for him when 
others of his men were engaged both to the east 
and to the west, and he, too, knew from the sound 
that those to the east were in a sore way. More- 
over, he could hear that accursed bugling, bugling, 
bugling in the west. 

He turned suddenly to the new lieutenant who 
stood behind him, pale and quiet. " Did you ever 
think a hundred men were so many ? " he cried, 
incensed to the point of beating them. Then he 
said longingly : " Oh, for a half an hour ! Or even 
twenty minutes ! " 

A practice racked violently up from the east. 
It is characteristic of these men that, although they 
take a certain roadster gait and hold it for ever, 
they cannot really run, sprint, race. " Captain 
Rodriguez is attacked by two hundred men, sefior, 
and the cavalry is behind them. He wishes to 
know " 

The general was furious ; he pointed. 
" Go ! Tell Rodriguez to hold his place for 
twenty minutes, even if he leaves every man 

The practico shambled hastily off. 

The last of the carriers were swarming across 
the road. The rifle-drumming in the east was 


swelling out and out, evidently coming slowly 
nearer. The general bit his nails. " He wheeled 
suddenly upon the young lieutenant. " Go to 
Bas at the blockhouse. Tell him to hold the 
devil himself for ten minutes and then bring his 
men out of that place." 

The long line of bearers was crawling like a dun 
worm toward the safety of the foot-hills. High 
bullets sang a faint song over the aide as he saluted. 
The bugles had in the west ceased, and that was 
more ominous than bugling. It meant that the 
Spanish troops were about to march, or perhaps 
that they had marched. 

The young lieutenant ran along the road until 
he came to the bend which marked the range of 
sight from the blockhouse. He drew his machete, 
his stunning new machete, and hacked feverishly 
at the barbed wire fence which lined the north 
side of the road at that point. The first wire was 
obdurate, because it was too high for his stroke, 
but two more cut like candy, and he stepped over 
the remaining one, tearing his trousers in passing 
on the lively serpentine ends of the severed wires. 
Once out in the field and bullets seemed to know 
him and call for him and speak their wish to kill him. 
But he ran on, because it was his duty, and because 
he would be shamed before men if he did not do 


his duty, and because he was desolate out there 
all alone in the fields with death. 

A man running in this manner from the rear 
was in immensely greater danger than those who 
lay snug and close. But he did not know it. He 
thought because he was five hundred four hun- 
dred and fifty four hundred yards away from the 
enemy and the others were only three hundred 
yards away that they were in far more peril. He 
ran to join them because of his opinion. He did 
not care to do it, but he thought that was what 
men of his kind would do in such a case. There 
was a standard and he must follow it, obey it, be- 
cause it was a monarch, the Prince of Conduct. 

A bewildered and alarmed face raised itself from 
the grass and a voice cried to him : " Drop, 
Manolo ! Drop ! Drop ! He recognised Bas and 
flung himself to the earth beside him. 

" Why," he said panting, " what's the matter ? " 

"Matter?" said Bas. "You are one of the 
most desperate and careless officers I know. When 
I saw you coming I wouldn't have given a peseta 
for your life." 

" Oh, no," said the young aide. Then he re- 
peated his orders rapidly. But he was hugely 
delighted. He knew Bas well ; Bas was a pupil 
of Maceo ; Bas invariably led his men ; he never 


was a mere spectator of their battle ; he was 
known for it throughout the western end of the 
island. The new officer had early achieved a part 
of his ambition to be called a brave man by 
established brave men. 

" Well, if we get away from here quickly it will 
be better for us," said Bas, bitterly. " I've lost 
six men killed, and more wounded. Rodriguez 
can't hold his position there, and in a little time 
more than a thousand men will come from the 
other direction." 

He hissed a low call, and later the young aide 
saw some of the men sneaking off with the 
wounded, lugging them on their backs as porters 
carry sacks. The fire from the blockhouse -had 
become a-weary, and as the insurgent fire also 
slackened, Bas and the young lieutenant lay in 
the weeds listening to the approach of the eastern 
fight, which was sliding toward them like a door 
to shut them off. 

Bas groaned. " I leave my dead. Look there." 
He swung his hand in a gesture and the lieutenant 
looking saw a corpse. He was not stricken as he 
expected ; there was very little blood ; it was a 
mere thing. 

" Time to travel," said Bas suddenly. His im- 
perative hissing brought his men near him ; there 


were a few hurried questions and answers ; then, 
characteristically, the men turned in the grass, 
lifted their rifles, and fired a last volley into the 
blockhouse, accompanying it with their shrill 
cries. Scrambling low to the ground, they were 
off in a winding line for safety. Breathing hard, 
the lieutenant stumbled his way forward. Behind 
him he could hear the men calling each to each : 
" Segue ! Segue ! Segue ! Go on ! Get out ! 
Git ! " Everybody understood that the peril of 
crossing the road was compounding from minute 
to minute. 


When they reached the gap through which the 
expedition had passed, they fled out upon the 
road like scared wild-fowl tracking along a sea- 
beach. A cloud of blue figures far up this digni- 
fied shaded avenue, fired at once. The men already 
had begun to laugh as they shied one by one 
across the road. " Segue ! Segue ! " The hard 
part for the nerves had been the lack of informa- 
tion of the amount of danger. Now that they 
could see it, they accounted it all the more lightly 
for their previous anxiety. 


Over in the other field, Bas and the young lieu- 
tenant found Rodriguez, his machete in one hand, 
his revolver in the other, smoky, dirty, sweating. 
He shrugged his shoulders when he saw them 
and pointed disconsolately to .the brown thread 
of carriers moving toward the foot-hills. His 
own men were crouched in line just in front of 
him blazing like a prairie fire. 

Now began the fight of a scant rear-guard to 
hold back the pressing Spaniards until the carriers 
could reach the top of the ridge, a mile away. 
This ridge by the way was more steep than any 
roof ; it conformed, more, to the sides of a French 
war-ship. Trees grew vertically from it, however, 
and a man burdened only with his rifle usually 
pulled himself wheezingly up in a sort of ladder- 
climbing process, grabbing the slim trunks above 
him. How the loaded carriers were to conquer 
it in a hurry, no one knew. Rodriguez shrugged 
his shoulders as one who would say with philoso- 
phy, smiles, tears, courage : " Isn't this a mess ! " 

At an order, the men scattered back for four 
hundred yards with the rapidity and mystery of 
a handful of pebbles flung in the night. They 
left one behind who cried out, but it was now a 
game in which some were sure to be left behind to 
cry out. 


The Spaniards deployed on the road and for 
twenty minutes remained there pouring into the 
field such a fire from their magazines as was 
hardly heard at Gettysburg. As a matter of truth 
the insurgents were at this time doing very little 
shooting, being chary of ammunition. But it is 
possible for the soldier to confuse himself with 
his own noise and undoubtedly the Spanish troops 
thought throughout their din that they were being 
fiercely engaged. Moreover, a firing-line par- 
ticularly at night or when opposed to a hidden 
foe is nothing less than an emotional chord, a 
chord of a harp that sings because a puff of air 
arrives or when a bit of down touches it. This 
is always true of new troops or stupid troops and 
these troops were rather stupid troops. But, the 
way in which they mowed the verdure in the 
distance was a sight for a farmer. 

Presently the insurgents slunk back to another 
position where they fired enough shots to stir 
again the Spaniards into an opinion that they 
were in a heavy fight. But such a misconception 
could only endure for a number of minutes. 
Presently it was plain that the Spaniards were 
about to advance and, moreover, word was 
brought to Rodriguez that a small band of guer- 
illas were already making an attempt to worm 


around the right flank. Rodriguez cursed de- 
spairingly ; he sent both Bas and the young lieu- 
tenant to that end of the line to hold the men to 
their work as long as possible. 

In reality the men barely needed the presence 
of their officers. The kind of fighting left prac- 
tically everything to the discretion of the indi- 
vidual and they arrived at concert of action 
mainly because of the equality of experience, in 
the wisdoms of bushwhacking. 

The yells of the guerillas could plainly be heard 
and the insurgents answered in kind. The young 
lieutenant found desperate work on the right 
flank. The men were raving mad with it, bab- 
bling, tearful, almost frothing at the mouth. 
Two terrible bloody creatures passed him, creep- 
ing on all fours, and one in a whimper was calling 
upon God, his mother, and a saint. The guerillas, 
as effectually concealed as the insurgents, were 
driving their bullets low through the smoke at 
sight of a flame, a movement of the grass or 
sight of a patch of dirty brown coat. They were 
no column-o'-four soldiers ; they were as slinky 
and snaky and quick as so many Indians. They 
were, moreover, native Cubans and because of 
their treachery to the one-star flag, they never 
by any chance received quarter if they fell into 


the hands of the insurgents. Nor, if the case 
was reversed, did they ever give quarter. It was 
life and life, death and death ; there was no mid- 
dle ground, no compromise. If a man's crowd 
was rapidly retreating and he was tumbled over 
by a slight hit, he should curse the sacred graves 
that the wound was not through the precise centre 
of his heart. The machete is a fine broad blade but 
it is not so nice as a drilled hole in the chest ; no 
man wants his death-bed to be a shambles. The 
men fighting on the insurgents' right knew that if 
they fell they were lost. 

On the extreme right, the young lieutenant 
found five men in a little saucer-like hollow. 
Two were dead, one was wounded and staring 
blankly at the sky and two were emptying hot 
rifles furiously. Some of the guerillas had 
snaked into positions only a hundred yards away. 

The young man rolled in among the men in 
the saucer. He could hear the barking of the 
guerillas and the screams of the two insurgents. 
The rifles were popping and spitting in his face, 
it seemed, while the whole land was alive with a 
noise of rolling and drumming. Men could have 
gone drunken in all this flashing and flying and 
snarling and din, but at this time he was very 
deliberate. He knew that he was thrusting him- 


self into a trap whose door, once closed, opened 
only when the black hand knocked and every 
part of him seemed to be in panic-stricken revolt. 
But something controlled him ; something moved 
him inexorably in one direction ; he perfectly 
understood but he was only sad, sad with a serene 
dignity, with the countenance of a mournful 
young prince. He was of a kind that seemed 
to be it and the men of his kind, on peak or 
plain, from the dark northern ice-fields to the hot 
wet jungles, through all wine and want, through 
all lies and unfamiliar truth, dark or light, the 
men of his kind were governed by their gods, 
and each man knew the law and yet could not 
give tongue to it, but it was the law and if the 
spirits of the men of his kind were all sitting in 
critical judgment upon him eyen then in the sky, 
he could not have bettered his conduct ; he needs 
must obey the law and always with the law there 
is only one way. But from peak and plain, from 
dark northern icefields and hot wet jungles, 
through wine and want, through all lies and un- 
familiar truth, dark or light, he heard breathed to 
him the approval and the benediction of his 

He stooped and gently took a dead man's rifle 
and some cartridges. The battle was hurrying, 


hurrying, hurrying, but he was in no haste. His 
glance caught the staring eye of the wounded 
soldier, and he smiled at him quietly. The man 
simple doomed peasant was not of his kind, 
but the law on fidelity was clear. 

He thrust a cartridge into the Remington and 
crept up beside the two unhurt men. Even as he 
did so, three or four bullets cut so close to him 
that all his flesh tingled. He fired carefully into 
the smoke. The guerillas were certainly not now 
more than fifty yards away. 

He raised him coolly for his second shot, and 
almost instantly it was as if some giant had struck 
him in the chest with a beam. It whirled him in 
a great spasm back into the saucer. As he put 
his two hands to his breast, he could hear the 
guerillas screeching exultantly, every throat vomit- 
ing forth all the infamy of a language prolific in 
the phrasing of infamy. 

One of the other men came rolling slowly down 
the slope, while his rifle followed him, and, strik- 
ing another rifle, clanged out. Almost immedi- 
ately the survivor howled and fled wildly. A 
whole volley missed him and then one or more 
shots caught him as a bird is caught on the wing. 

The young lieutenant's body seemed galvanised 
from head to foot. He concluded that he was 


not hurt very badly, but when he tried to move he 
found that he could not lift his hands from his 
breast. He had turned to lead. He had had a 
plan of taking a photograph from his pocket and 
looking at it. 

There was a stir in the grass at the edge of the 
saucer, and a man appeared there, looking where 
lay the four insurgents. His negro face was not 
an eminently ferocious one in its lines, but now it 
was lit with an illimitable blood-greed. He and 
the young lieutenant exchanged a singular glance ; 
then he came stepping eagerly down. The young 
lieutenant closed his eyes, for he did not want to 
see the flash of the machete. 


The Spanish colonel was in a rage, and yet im- 
mensely proud ; immensely proud, and yet in a 
rage of disappointment. There had been a fight 
and the insurgents had retreated leaving their dead, 
but still a valuable expedition had broken through 
his lines and escaped to the mountains. As a 
matter of truth, he was not sure whether to be 


wholly delighted or wholly angry, for well he knew 
that the importance lay not so much in the truth- 
ful account of the action as it did in the heroic 
prose of the official report, and in the fight itself 
lay material for a purple splendid poem. The in- 
surgents had run away ; no one could deny it ; it 
was plain even to whatever privates had fired with 
their eyes shut. This was worth a loud blow and 
splutter. However, when all was said and done, 
he could not help but reflect that if he had cap- 
tured this expedition, he would have been a brig- 
adier-general, if not more. 

He was a short, heavy man with a beard, who 
walked in a manner common to all elderly Spanish 
officers, and to many young ones ; that is to say, 
he walked as if his spine was a stick and a little 
longer than his body ; as if he suffered from some 
disease of the backbone, which allowed him but 
scant use of his legs. He toddled along the road, 
gesticulating disdainfully and muttering : " Ca ! 
Ca! Ca!" 

He berated some soldiers for an immaterial 
thing, and as he approached the men stepped pre- 
cipitately back as if he were a fire-engine. They 
were most of them young fellows, who displayed, 
when under orders, the manner of so many faith- 
ful dogs. At present, they were black, tongue- 


hanging, thirsty boys, bathed in the nervous 
weariness of the after-battle time. 

Whatever he may truly have been in character, 
the colonel closely resembled a gluttonous and 
libidinous old pig, filled from head to foot with 
the pollution of a sinful life. " Ca ! " he snarled, 
as he toddled. " Ca ! Ca ! " The soldiers sa- 
luted as they backed to the side of the road. The 
air was full of the odour of burnt rags. Over on 
the prairie guerillas and regulars were rummaging 
the grass. A few unimportant shots sounded 
from near the base of the hills. 

A guerilla, glad with plunder, came to a Spanish 
captain. He held in his hand a photograph. 
" Mira, senor. I took this from the body of an 
officer whom I killed machete to machete." 

The captain shot from the corner of his eye a 
cynical glance at the guerilla, a glance which 
commented upon the last part of the statement. 
" M-m-m," he said. He took the photograph and 
gazed with a slow faint smile, the smile of a 
man who knows bloodshed and homes and love, 
at the face of a girl. He turned the photograph 
presently, and on the back of it was written : " One 
lesson in English I will give you this : I love 
you, Margharita." The photograph had been 
taken in Tampa. 


The officer was silent for a half-minute, while 
his face still wore the slow faint smile. " Pobre- 
cetto," he murmured finally, with a philosophic 
sigh, which was brother to a shrug. Without 
deigning a word to the guerilla he thrust the 
photograph in his pocket and walked away. 

High over the green earth, in the dizzy blue 
heights, some great birds were slowly circling with 
down-turned beaks. 


Margharita was in the gardens. The blue 
electric rays shone through the plumes of the 
palm and shivered in feathery images on the walk. 
In the little foolish fish-pond some stalwart fish 
was apparently bullying the others, for often there 
sounded a frantic splashing. 

Her mother came to her rapidly. " Margha- 
rita ! Mister Smith is here ! Come ! " 

" Oh, is he?" cried the girl. She followed her 
mother to the house. She swept into the little 
parlor with a grand air, the egotism of a savage. 
Smith had heard the whirl of her skirts in the 
hall, and his heart, as usual, thumped hard enough 
to make him gasp. Every time he called, he 


would sit waiting with the dull fear in his breast 
that her mother would enter and indifferently 
announce that she had gone up to heaven or off 
to New York, with one of his dream-rivals, and 
he would never see her again in this wide world. 
And he would conjure up tricks to then escape 
from the house without any one observing his 
face break up into furrows. It was part of his 
love to believe in the absolute treachery of his 
adored one. So whenever he heard the whirl of 
her skirts in the hall he felt that he had again 
leased happiness from a dark fate. 

She was rosily beaming and all in white. 
" Why, Mister Smith," she exclaimed, as if he 
was the last man in the world she expected to 

" Good-evenin'," he said, shaking hands nerv- 
ously. He was always awkward and unlike him- 
self, at the beginning of one of these calls. It 
took him some time to get into form. 

She posed her figure in operatic style on a 
chair before him, and immediately galloped off a 
mile of questions, information of herself, gossip 
and general outcries which left him no obliga- 
tion, but to look beamingly intelligent and from 
time to time say: "Yes?" His personal joy, 
however, was to stare at her beauty. 


When she stopped and wandered as if uncer- 
tain which way to talk, there was a minute of 
silence, which each of them had been educated 
to feel was very incorrect ; very incorrect indeed. 
Polite people always babbled at each other like 
two brooks. 

He knew that the responsibility was upon him, 
and, although his mind was mainly upon the 
form of the proposal of marriage which he in- 
tended to make later, it was necessary that he 
should maintain his reputation as a well-bred man 
by saying something at once. It flashed upon 
him to ask : " Won't you please play ? " But 
the time for the piano ruse was not yet ; it was 
too early. So he said the first thing that came 
into his head : " Too bad about young Manolo 
Prat being killed over there in Cuba, wasn't it ? 

" Wasn't it a pity ? " she answered. 

" They say his mother is heart-broken," he con- 
tinued. " They're afraid she's goin' to die." 

" And wasn't it queer that we didn't hear about 
it for almost two months ? " 

" Well, it's no use tryin' to git quick news from 

Presently they advanced to matters more per- 
sonal, and she used upon him a series of star-like 
glances which rumpled him at once to squalid 


slavery. He gloated upon her, afraid, afraid, yet 
more avaricious than a thousand misers. She 
fully comprehended ; she laughed and taunted 
him with her eyes. She impressed upon him that 
she was like a will-o'-the-wisp, beautiful beyond 
compare but impossible, almost impossible, at 
least very difficult ; then again, suddenly, im- 
possible impossible impossible. He was glum ; 
he would never dare propose to this radiance ; it 
was like asking to be pope. 

A moment later, there chimed into the room 
something that he knew to be a more tender 
note. The girl became dreamy as she looked at 
him ; her voice lowered to a delicious intimacy 
of tone. He leaned forward ; he was about to 
outpour his bully-ragged soul in fine words, 
when presto she was the most casual person 
he had ever laid eyes upon, and was asking 
him about the route of the proposed trolley 

But nothing short of a fire could stop him now. 
He grabbed her hand. " Margharita," he mur- 
mured gutturally, " I want you to marry me." 

She glared at him in the most perfect lie of 
astonishment. " What do you say ? " 

He arose, and she thereupon arose also and fled 
back a step. He could only stammer out her 


name. And thus they stood, defying the prin- 
ciples of the dramatic art. 

" I love you," he said at last. 

" How how do I know you really truly love 
me? " she said, raising her eyes timorously to his 
face and this timorous glance, this one timorous 
glance, made him the superior person in an instant. 
He went forward as confident as a grenadier, and, 
taking both her hands, kissed her. 

That night she took a stained photograph from 
her dressing-table and holding it over the candle 
burned it to nothing, her red lips meanwhile 
parted with the intentness of her occupation. On 
the back of the photograph was written : " One 
lesson in English I will give you this : I love 

For the word is clear only to the kind who on 
peak or plain, from dark northern ice-fields to the 
hot wet jungles, through all wine and want, 
through lies and unfamiliar truth, dark or light, 
are governed by the unknown gods, and though 
each man knows the law, no man may give tongue 
to it. 


LITTLE NELL, sometimes called the Blessed 
Damosel, was a war correspondent for the New 
York Eclipse, and at sea on the despatch boats 
he wore pajamas, and on shore he wore whatever 
fate allowed him, which clothing was in the main 
unsuitable to the climate. He had been cruising 
in the Caribbean on a small tug, awash always, 
habitable never, wildly looking for Cervera's fleet ; 
although what he was going to do with four 
armoured cruisers and two destroyers in the event 
of his really finding them had not been explained 
by the managing editor. The cable instructions 
read: 'Take tug; go find Cervera's fleet." If 
his unfortunate nine-knot craft should happen to 
find these great twenty-knot ships, with their two 
spiteful and faster attendants, Little Nell had 
wondered how he was going to lose them again. 
He had marvelled, both publicly and in secret, on 
the uncompromising asininity of managing editors 
at odd moments, but he had wasted little time. 
The Jefferson G. Johnson was already coaled, so 
he passed the word to his skipper, bought some 


tinned meats, cigars, and beer, and soon the * John- 
son sailed on her mission, tooting her whistle in 
graceful farewell to some friends of hers in the 

So the Johnson crawled giddily to one wave- 
height after another, and fell, aslant, into one 
valley after another for a longer period than was 
good for the hearts of the men, because the John- 
son was merely a harbour-tug, with no architectural 
intention of parading the high-seas, and the crew 
had never seen the decks all white water like a 
mere sunken reef. As for the cook, he blas- 
phemed hopelessly hour in and hour out, mean- 
while pursuing the equipment of his trade frantic- 
ally from side to side of the galley. Little Nell 
dealt with a great deal of grumbling, but he knew 
it was not the real evil grumbling. It was merely 
the unhappy words of men who wished expression 
of comradeship for their wet, forlorn, half-starved 
lives, to which, they explained, they were not ac- 
customed, and for which, they explained, they 
were not properly paid. Little Nell condoled 
and condoled without difficulty. He laid words 
of gentle sympathy before them, and smothered 
his own misery behind the face of a reporter of 
the New York Eclipse. But they tossed them- 
selves in their cockleshell even as far as Mar- 


tinique ; they knew many races and many flags, 
but they did not find Cervera's fleet. If they had 
found that elusive squadron this timid story would 
never have been written ; there would probably 
have been a lyric. The Johnson limped one morn- 
ing into the Mole St. Nicholas, and there Little 
Nell received this despatch : " Can't understand 
your inaction. What are you doing with the 
boat? Report immediately. Fleet transports 
already left Tampa, Expected destination near 
Santiago. Proceed there immediately. Place 
yourself under orders. ROGERS, Eclipse." 

One day, steaming along the high, luminous 
blue coast of Santiago province, they fetched into 
view the fleets, a knot of masts and funnels, look- 
ing incredibly inshore, as if they were glued to 
the mountains. Then mast left mast, and funnel 
left funnel, slowly, slowly, and the shore remained 
still, but the fleets seemed to move out toward 
the eager Johnson. At the speed of nine knots 
an hour the scene separated into its parts. On 
an easily rolling sea, under a crystal sky, black- 
hulled transports erstwhile packets lay waiting, 
while grey cruisers and gunboats lay near shore, 
shelling the beach and some woods. From their 
grey sides came thin red flashes, belches of white 
smoke, and then over the waters sounded boom 


boom boom-boom. The crew of the Jefferson 
G. Johnson forgave Little Nell all the suffering of 
a previous fortnight. 

To the westward, about the mouth of Santiago 
harbour, sat a row of castellated grey battleships, 
their eyes turned another way, waiting. 

The Johnson swung past a transport whose 
decks and rigging were aswarm with black figures, 
as if a tribe of bees had alighted upon a log. She 
swung past a cruiser indignant at being left out 
of the game, her deck thick with white-clothed 
tars watching the play of their luckier brethren. 
The cold blue, lifting seas tilted the big ships 
easily, slowly, and heaved the little ones in the 
usual sinful way, as if very little babes had sur- 
reptitiously mounted sixteen-hand trotting hunters. 
The Johnson leered and tumbled her way through 
a community of ships. The bombardment ceased, 
and some of the troopships edged in near the land. 
Soon boats black with men and towed by launches 
were almost lost to view in the scintillant mystery 
of light which appeared where the sea met the 
land. A disembarkation had begun. The John- 
son sped on at her nine knots, and Little Nell 
chafed exceedingly, gloating upon the shore 
through his glasses, anon glancing irritably over 
the side to note the efforts of the excited tug. 


Then at last they were in a sort of a cove, with 
troopships, newspaper boats, and cruisers on all 
sides of them, and over the water came a great 
hum of human voices, punctuated frequently by 
the clang of engine-room gongs as the steamers 
manoeuvred to avoid jostling. 

In reality it was the great moment the moment 
for which men, ships, islands, and continents had 
been waiting for months ; but somehow it did not 
look it. It was very calm ; a certain strip of high, 
green, rocky shore was being rapidly populated 
from boat after boat ; that was all. Like many 
preconceived moments, it refused to be supreme. 

But nothing lessened Little Nell's frenzy. He 
knew that the army was landing he could 
see it ; and little did he care if the great moment 
did not look its part it was his virtue as a cor- 
respondent to recognise the great moment in any 
disguise. The Johnson lowered a boat for him, 
and he dropped into it swiftly, forgetting every- 
thing. However, the mate, a bearded philan- 
thropist, flung after him a mackintosh and a bottle 
of whisky. Little Nell's face was turned toward 
those other boats filled with men, all eyes upon 
the placid, gentle, noiseless shore. Little Nell saw 
many soldiers seated stiffly beside upright rifle 
barrels, their blue breasts crossed with white shel- 


ter tent and blanket-rolls. Launches screeched ; 
jack-tars pushed or pulled with their boathooks ; 
a beach was alive with working soldiers, some of 
them stark naked. Little Nell's boat touched the 
shore amid a babble of tongues, dominated at that 
time by a single stern voice, which was repeating, 
" Fall in, B Company ! " 

He took his mackintosh and his bottle of whisky 
and invaded Cuba. It was a trifle bewildering. 
Companies of those same men in blue and brown 
were being rapidly formed and marched off across 
a little open space near a pool near some palm 
trees near a house into the hills. At one side, 
a mulatto in dirty linen and an old straw hat was 
hospitably using a machete to cut open some green 
cocoanuts for a group of idle invaders. At the 
other side, up a bank, a blockhouse was burning 
furiously ; while near it some railway sheds were 
smouldering, with a little Roger's engine standing 
amid the ruins, grey, almost white, with ashes 
until it resembled a ghost. Little Nell dodged 
the encrimsoned blockhouse, and proceeded where 
he saw a little village street lined with flimsy 
wooden cottages. Some ragged Cuban cavalrymen 
were tranquilly tending their horses in a shed 
which had not yet grown cold of the Spanish 
occupation. Three American soldiers were trying 


to explain to a Cuban that they wished to buy 
drinks. A native rode by, clubbing his pony, as 
always. The sky was blue ; the sea talked with a 
gravelly accent at the feet of some rocks ; upon 
its bosom the ships sat quiet as gulls. There was 
no mention, directly, of invasion invasion for 
war save in the roar of the flames at the block- 
house ; but none even heeded this conflagration, 
excepting to note that it threw out a great heat. 
It was warm, very warm. It was really hard for 
Little Nell to keep from thinking of his own affairs : 
his debts, other misfortunes, loves, prospects of 
happiness. Nobody was in a flurry ; the Cubans 
were not tearfully grateful ; the American troops 
were visibly glad of being released from those ill 
transports, and the men often asked, with in- 
terest, "Where's the Spaniards?" And yet it 
must have been a great moment! It was a great 
moment ! 

It seemed made to prove that the emphatic time 
of history is not the emphatic time of the common 
man, who throughout the change of nations feels 
an itch on his shin, a pain in his head, hunger, 
thirst, a lack of sleep ; the influence of his memory 
of past firesides, glasses of beer, girls, theatres, 
ideals, religions, parents, faces, hurts, joy. 

Little Nell was hailed from a comfortable 


veranda, and, looking up, saw Walkley of the 
Eclipse, stretched in a yellow and green hammock, 
smoking his pipe with an air of having always 
lived in that house, in that village. " Oh, dear little 
Nell, how glad I am to see your angel face again ! 
There ! don't try to hide it ; I can see it. Did 
you bring a corkscrew too ? You're superseded 
as master of the slaves. Did you know it ? And 
by Rogers, too ! Rogers is a Sadducee, a cadaver 
and a pelican, appointed to the post of chief cor- 
respondent, no doubt, because of his rare gift of 
incapacity. Never mind." 

" Where is he now ? " asked Little Nell, taking 
seat on the steps. 

" He is down interfering with the landing of the 
troops," answered Walkley, swinging a leg. " I 
hope you have the Johnson well.stocked with food 
as well as with cigars, cigarettes and tobaccos, 
ales, wines and liquors. We shall need them. 
There is already famine in the house of Walkley. 
I have discovered that the system of transporta- 
tion for our gallant soldiery does not strike in me 
the admiration which I have often felt when view- 
ing the management of an ordinary bun-shop. A 
hunger, stifling, jammed together amid odours, 
and everybody irritable ye gods, how irritable ! 

And so I Look ! look ! " 



The Jefferson G. Johnson, well known to them 
at an incredible distance, could be seen striding 
the broad sea, the smoke belching from her 
funnel, headed for Jamaica. " The Army Lands 
in Cuba!" shrieked Walkley. " Shafter's Army 
Lands near Santiago ! Special type ! Half the 
front page ! Oh, the Sadducee ! The cadaver ! 
The pelican ! " 

Little Nell was dumb with astonishment and 
fear. Walkley, however, was at least not dumb. 
" That's the pelican ! That's Mr. Rogers making 
his first impression upon the situation. He has 
engraved himself upon us. We are tattooed with 
him. There will be a fight to-morrow, sure, and we 
will cover it even as you found Cervera's fleet. 
No food, no horses, no money. I am transport 
lame ; you are sea-weak. We will never see our 
salaries again. Whereby Rogers is a fool." 

"Anybody else here?" asked Little Nell 

" Only young Point." Point was an artist on 
the Eclipse. "But he has nothing. Pity there 
wasn't an almshouse in this God -forsaken coun- 
try. Here comes Point now." A sad-faced man 
came along carrying much luggage. " Hello, Point ! 
lithographer and genius, have you food ? Food. 
Well, then, you had better return yourself to 


Tampa by wire. You are no good here. Only 
one more little mouth to feed." 

Point seated himself near Little Nell. " I 
haven't had anything to eat since daybreak/' he 
said gloomily, " and I don't care much, for I am 
simply dog-tired." 

" Don' tell me you are dog-tired, my talented 
friend," cried Walkley from his hammock. 
" Think of me. And now what's to be done ? " 

They stared for a time disconsolately at where, 
over the rim of the sea, trailed black smoke from 
\hejohnson. From the landing-place below and 
to the right came the howls of a man who was 
superintending the disembarkation of some mules. 
The burning blockhouse still rendered its hollow 
roar. Suddenly the men-crowded landing set up 
its cheer, and the steamers all whistled long and 
raucously. Tiny black figures were raising an 
American flag over a blockhouse on the top of 
a great hill. 

" That's mighty fine Sunday stuff," said Little 
Nell. " Well, I'll go and get the order in which 
the regiments landed, and who was first ashore, 
and all that. Then I'll go and try to find General 
Lawton's headquarters. His division has got the 
advance, I think." 

" And, lo ! I will write a burning description 


of the raising of the flag/' said Walkley. " While 
the brilliant Point huskies for food and makes 
damn sure he gets it," he added fiercely. 

Little Nell thereupon wandered over the face 
of the earth, threading out the story of the land- 
ing of the regiments. He only found about fifty 
men who had been the first American soldier to 
set foot on Cuba, and of these he took the most 
probable. The army was going forward in detail, 
as soon as the pieces were landed. There was a 
house something like a crude country tavern 
the soldiers in it were looking over their rifles and 
talking. There was a well of water quite hot 
more palm trees an inscrutable background. 

When he arrived again at Walkley's mansion 
he found the verandah crowded with correspon- 
dents in khaki, duck, dungaree and flannel. They 
wore riding-breeches, but that was mainly fore- 
thought. They could see now that fate intended 
them to walk. Some were writing copy, while 
Walkley discoursed from his hammock. Rhodes 
doomed to be shot in action some days later 
was trying to borrow a canteen from men who 
had one, and from men who had none. Young 
Point, wan, utterly worn out, was asleep on the 
floor. Walkley pointed to him. " That is how 
he appears after his foraging journey, during 


which he ran all Cuba through a sieve. Oh, yes ; 
a can of corn and a half-bottle of lime juice." 

"Say, does anybody know the name of the 
commander of the 26th Infantry ? " 

" Who commands the first brigade of Kent's 
Division ? " 

" What was the name of the chap that raised the 

" What time is it ? " 

And a woeful man was wandering here and 
there with a cold pipe, saying plaintively, " Who's 
got a match ? Anybody here got a match ? " 

Liftle Nell's left boot hurt him at the heel, and 
so he removed it, taking great care and whistling 
through his teeth. The heated dust was upon 
them all, making everybody feel that bathing was 
unknown and shattering their tempers. Young 
Point developed a snore which brought grim sar- 
casm from all quarters. Always below, hummed 
the traffic of the landing-place. 

When night came Little Nell thought best not 
to go to bed until late, because he recognised the 
mackintosh as but a feeble comfort. The evening 
was a glory. A breeze came from the sea, fan- 
ning spurts of flame out of the ashes and charred 
remains of the sheds, while overhead lay a splen- 
did summer-night sky, aflash with great tranquil 


stars. In the streets of the village were two or 
three fires, frequently and suddenly reddening 
with their glare the figures of low-voiced men who 
moved here and there. The lights of the trans- 
ports blinked on the murmuring plain in front of 
the village ; and far to the westward Little Nell 
could sometimes note a subtle indication of a 
playing search-light, which alone marked the pres- 
ence of the invisible battleships, half-mooned 
about the entrance of Santiago Harbour, waiting 
waiting waiting. 

When Little Nell returned to the veranda he 
stumbled along a man-strewn place, until he came 
to the spot where he left his mackintosh ; but he 
found it gone. His curses mingled then with 
those of the men upon whose bodies he had trod- 
den. Two English correspondents, lying awake 
to smoke a last pipe, reared and looked at him 
lazily. " What's wrong, old chap ? " murmured 
one. "Eh? Lost it, eh? Well, look here; 
come here and take a bit of my blanket. It's a 
jolly big one. Oh, no trouble at all, man. There 
you are. Got enough ? Comfy ? Good-night." 

A sleepy voice arose in the darkness. "If 
this hammock breaks, I shall hit at least ten of 
those Indians down there. Never mind. This 
is war." 


The men slept. Once the sound of three or four 
shots rang across the windy night, and one head 
uprose swiftly from the verandah, two eyes looked 
dazedly at nothing, and the head as swiftly sank. 
Again a sleepy voice was heard. " Usual thing ! 
Nervous sentries ! " The men slept. Before dawn 
a pulseless, penetrating chill came into the air, 
and the correspondents awakened, shivering, into 
a blue world. Some of the fires still smouldered. 
Walkley and Little Nell kicked vigorously into 
Point's framework. " Come on, brilliance ! Wake 
up, talent ! Don't be sodgering. It's too cold to 
sleep, but it's not too cold to hustle." Point sat 
up dolefully. Upon his face was a childish ex- 
pression. "Where are we going to get break- 
fast ? " he asked, sulking. 

" There's no breakfast for you, you hound ! 
Get up and hustle." Accordingly they hustled. 
With exceeding difficulty they learned that noth- 
ing emotional had happened during the night, 
save the killing of two Cubans who were so secure 
in ignorance that they could not understand the 
challenge of two American sentries. Then 
Walkley ran a gamut of commanding officers, and 
Little Nell pumped privates for their impressions 
of Cuba. When his indignation at the absence of 
breakfast allowed him, Point made sketches. At 


the full break of day the Adolphus, and Eclipse 
despatch boat, sent a boat ashore with Tailor and 
Shackles in it, and Walkley departed tearlessly 
for Jamaica, soon after he had bestowed upon his 
friends much tinned goods and blankets. 

"Well, we've got our stuff off," said Little Nell. 
" Now Point and I must breakfast." 

Shackles, for some reason, carried a great hunt- 
ing-knife, and with it Little Nell opened a tin of 

" Fall to," he said amiably to Point. 

There were some hard biscuits. Afterwards 
they the four of them marched off on the route 
of the troops. They were well loaded with lug- 
gage, particularly young Point, who had somehow 
made a great gathering of unnecessary things. 
Hills covered with verdure soon enclosed them. 
They heard that the army had advanced some 
nine miles with no fighting. Evidences of the 
rapid advance were here and there coats, gaunt- 
lets, blanket rolls on the ground. Mule-trains 
came herding back along the narrow trail to the 
sound of a little tinkling bell. Cubans were ap- 
propriating the coats and blanket-rolls. 

The four correspondents hurried onward. The 
surety of impending battle weighed upon them 
always, but there was a score of minor things more 


intimate. Little Nell's left heel had chafed until 
it must have been quite raw, and every moment 
he wished to take seat by the roadside and con- 
sole himself from pain. Shackles and Point dis- 
liked each other extremely, and often they fool- 
ishly quarrelled over something, or nothing. 
The blanket-rolls and packages for the hand op- 
pressed everybody. It was like being burned out 
of a boarding-house, and having to carry one's 
trunk eight miles to the nearest neighbour. More- 
over, Point, since he had stupidly overloaded, 
with great wisdom placed various cameras and 
other trifles in the hands of his three less-bur- 
dened and more sensible friends. This made 
them fume and gnash, but in complete silence, 
since he was hideously youthful and innocent 
and unaware. They all wished to rebel, but none 
of them saw their way clear, because they did 
not understand. But somehow it seemed a bar- 
barous project no one wanted to say anything 
cursed him privately for a little ass, but said 
nothing. For instance, Little Nell wished to re- 
mark, " Point, you are not a thoroughbred in a 
half of a way. You are an inconsiderate, thought- 
less little swine." But, in truth, he said, " Point, 
when you started out you looked like a Christ- 
mas-tree, If we keep on robbing you of your 


bundles there soon won't be anything left for the 
children." Point asked dubiously, " What do 
you mean ? " Little Nell merely laughed with 
deceptive good-nature. 

They were always very thirsty. There was 
always a howl for the half-bottle of lime juice. 
Five or six drops from it were simply heavenly in 
the warm water from the canteens. Point seemed 
to try to keep the lime juice in his possession, in 
order that he might get more benefit of it. Be- 
fore the war was ended the others found them- 
selves declaring vehemently that they loathed 
Point, and yet when men asked them the reason 
they grew quite inarticulate. The reasons seemed 
then so small, so childish, as the reasons of a lot 
of women. And yet at the time his offences 
loomed enormous. 

The surety of impending battle still weighed 
upon them. Then it came that Shackles turned 
seriously ill. Suddenly he dropped his own and 
much of Point's traps upon the trail, wriggled out 
of his blanket-roll, flung it away, and took seat 
heavily at the roadside. They saw with surprise 
that his face was pale as death, and yet streaming 
with sweat. 

" Boys," he said in his ordinary voice, " I'm 
clean played out. I can't go another step. You 


fellows go on, and leave me to come as soon as I 
am able." 

" Oh, no, that wouldn't do at all," said Little 
Nell and Tailor together. 

Point moved over to a soft place, and dropped 
amid whatever traps he was himself carrying. 

" Don't know whether it's ancestral or merely 
from the sun but I've got a stroke," said 
Shackles, and gently slumped over to a prostrate 
position before either Little Nell or Tailor could 
reach him. 

Thereafter Shackles was parental ; it was Little 
Nell and Tailor who were really suffering from a 
stroke, either ancestral or from the sun. 

" Put my blanket-roll under my head, Nell, me 
son," he said gently. " There now ! That is very 
nice. It is delicious. Why, I'm all right, only 
only tired." He closed his eyes, and something 
like an easy slumber came over him. Once he 
opened his eyes. " Don't trouble about me," he 

But the two fussed about him, nervous, worried, 
discussing this plan and that plan. It was Point 
who first made a business-like statement. Seated 
carelessly and indifferently upon his soft place, 
he finally blurted out : 

" Say ! Look here ! Some of us have got to 


go on. We can't all stay here. Some of us have 
got to go on." 

It was quite true ; the Eclipse could take no ac- 
count of strokes. In the end Point and Tailor 
went on, leaving Little Nell to bring on Shackles 
as soon as possible. The latter two spent many 
hours in the grass by the roadside. They made 
numerous abrupt acquaintances with passing staff 
officers, privates, muleteers, many stopping to in- 
quire the wherefore of the death-faced figure on 
the ground. Favours were done often and often, 
by peer and peasant small things, of no conse- 
quence, and yet warming. 

It was dark when Shackles and Little Nell had 
come slowly to where they could hear the mur- 
mur of the army's bivouac. 

" Shack," gasped Little Nell to the man leaning 
forlornly upon him, " I guess we'd better bunk 
down here where we stand." 

"All right, old boy. Anything you say," re- 
plied Shackles, in the bass and hollow voice which 
arrives with such condition. 

They crawled into some bushes, and distributed 
their belongings upon the ground. Little Nell 
spread out the blankets, and generally played 
housemaid. Then they lay down, supperless, 
being too weary to eat. The men slept. 


At dawn Little Nell awakened and looked 
wildly for Shackles, whose empty blanket was 
pressed flat like a wet newspaper on the ground. 
But at nearly the same moment Shackles appeared, 

" Come on," he cried ; " I've rustled an invita- 
tion for breakfast." 

Little Nell came on with celerity. 

"Where? Who ?" he said. 

" Oh ! some officers," replied Shackles airily. 
If he had been ill the previous day, he showed it 
now only in some curious kind of deference he 
paid to Little Nell. 

Shackles conducted his comrade, and soon they 
arrived at where a captain and his one subaltern 
arose courteously from where they were squatting 
near a fire of little sticks. They wore the wide 
white trouser-stripes of infantry officers, and upon 
the shoulders of their blue campaign shirts were 
the little marks of their rank ; but otherwise there 
was little beyond their manners to render them 
different from the men who were busy with break- 
fast near them. The captain was old, grizzled a 
common type of captain in the tiny American 
army overjoyed at the active service, confident 
of his business, and yet breathing out in some way 
a note of pathos. The war was come too late 


Age was grappling him, and honours were only 
for his widow and his children merely a better 
life insurance policy. He had spent his life police- 
ing Indians with much labour, cold and heat, but 
with no glory for him nor his fellows. All he 
now could do was to die at the head of his men. 
If he had youthfully dreamed of a general's stars, 
they were now impossible to him, and he knew it. 
He was too old to leap so far ; his sole honour 
was a new invitation to face death. And yet, with 
his ambitions lying half-strangled, he was going 
to take his men into any sort of holocaust, because 
his traditions were of gentlemen and soldiers, and 
because he loved it for itself the thing itself 
the whirl, the unknown. If he had been degraded 
at that moment to be a pot-wrestler, no power 
could have starved him from going through the 
campaign as a spectator. Why, the army ! It 
was in each drop of his blood. 

The lieutenant was very young. Perhaps he 
had been hurried out of West Point at the last 
moment, upon a shortage of officers appearing. 
To him, all was opportunity. He was, in fact, in 
great luck. Instead of going off in 1898 to grill 
for an indefinite period on some God-forgotten 
heap of red-hot sand in New Mexico, he was here 
in Cuba, on real business, with his regiment. 


When the big engagement came he was sure to 
emerge from it either horizontally or at the head 
of a company, and what more could a boy ask ? 
He was a very modest lad, and talked nothing of 
his frame of mind, but an expression of blissful 
contentment was ever upon his face. He really 
accounted himself the most fortunate boy of his 
time ; and he felt almost certain that he would do 
well. It was necessary to do well. He would do 

And yet in many ways these two were alike ; 
the grizzled captain with his gently mournful 
countenance " Too late " and the elate young 
second lieutenant, his commission hardly dry. 
Here again it was the influence of the army. 
After all they were both children of the army. 

It is possible to spring into the future here and 
chronicle what happened later. The captain, after 
thirty-five years of waiting for his chance, took his 
Mauser bullet through the brain at the foot of 
San Juan Hill in the very beginning of the battle, 
and the boy arrived on the crest panting, sweating, 
but unscratched, and not sure whether he com- 
manded one company or a whole battalion. Thus 
fate dealt to the hosts of Shackles and Little Nell. 

The breakfast was of canned tomatoes stewed 
with hard bread, more hard bread, and coffee. It 


was very good fare, almost royal. Shackles and 
Little Nell were absurdly grateful as they felt the 
hot bitter coffee tingle in them. But they de- 
parted joyfully before the sun was fairly up, and 
passed into Siboney. They never saw the captain 

The beach at Siboney was furious with traffic, 
even as had been the beach at Daqueri. Launches 
shouted, jack-tars prodded with their boathooks, 
and load of men followed load of men. Straight, 
parade-like, on the shore stood a trumpeter play- 
ing familiar calls to the troop-horses who swam 
towards him eagerly through the salt seas. Crowd- 
ing closely into the cove were transports of all 
sizes and ages. To the left and to the right of 
the little landing-beach green hills shot upward 
like the wings in a theatre. They were scarred 
here and there with blockhouses and rifle-pits. 
Up one hill a regiment was crawling, seemingly 
inch by inch. Shackles and Little Nell walked 
among palms and scrubby bushes, near pools, over 
spaces of sand holding little monuments of biscuit- 
boxes, ammunition-boxes, and supplies of all 
kinds. Some regiment was just collecting itself 
from the ships, and the men made great patches 
of blue on the brown sand. 

Shackles asked a question of a man accidentally : 


" Where's that regiment going to? " He pointed 
to the force that was crawling up the hill. The 
man grinned, and said, " They're going to look 
for a fight!" 

" Looking for a fight ! " said Shackles and 
Little Nell together. They stared into each 
other's eyes. Then they set off for the foot of 
the hill. The hill was long and toilsome. Below 
them spread wider and wider a vista of ships quiet 
on a grey sea ; a busy, black disembarkation- 
place ; tall, still, green hills ; a village of well 
separated cottages ; palms ; a bit of road ; sol- 
diers marching. They passed vacant Spanish 
trenches ; little twelve-foot blockhouses. Soon 
they were on a fine upland near the sea. The 
path, under ordinary conditions, must have been 
a beautiful wooded way. It wound in the 
shade of thickets of fine trees, then through rank 
growths of bushes with revealed and fantastic 
roots, then through a grassy space which had all 
the beauty of a neglected orchard. But always 
from under their feet scuttled noisy land-crabs, 
demons to the nerves, which in some way pos- 
sessed a semblance of moon-like faces upon their 
blue or red bodies, and these faces were turned 
with expressions of deepest horror upon Shackles 
and Little Nell as they sped to overtake the 


pugnacious regiment. The route was paved with 
coats, hats, tent and blanket rolls, ration-tins, 
haversacks everything but ammunition belts, 
rifles and canteens. 

They heard a dull noise of voices in front of 
them men talking too loud for the etiquette of 
the forest and presently they came upon two or 
three soldiers lying by the roadside, flame-faced, 
utterly spent from the hurried march in the heat. 
One man came limping back along the path. He 
looked to them anxiously for sympathy and com- 
prehension. " Hurt m' knee. I swear I couldn't 
keep up with th' boys. I had to leave 'm. Wasn't 
that tough luck?" His collar rolled away from 
a red, muscular neck, and his bare forearms were 
better than stanchions. Yet he was almost 
babyishly tearful in his attempt to make the 
two correspondents feel that he had not turned 
back because he was afraid. They gave him 
scant courtesy, tinctured with one drop of sym- 
pathetic yet cynical understanding. Soon they 
overtook the hospital squad ; men addressing 
chaste language to some pack-mules ; a talkative 
sergeant ; two amiable, cool-eyed young surgeons. 
Soon they were amid the rear troops of the dis- 
mounted volunteer cavalry regiment which was 
moving to attack. The men strode easily along, 


arguing one to another on ulterior matters. If 
they were going into battle, they either did not 
know it or they concealed it well. They were 
more like men going into a bar at one o'clock in 
the morning. Their laughter rang through the 
Cuban woods. And in the meantime, soft, mel- 
low, sweet, sang the voice of the Cuban wood- 
dove, the Spanish guerilla calling to his mate 
forest music ; on the flanks, deep back on both 
flanks, the adorable wood-dove, singing only of 
love. Some of the advancing Americans said it 
was beautiful. It was beautiful. The Spanish 
guerilla calling to his mate. What could be more 
beautiful ? 

Shackles and Little Nell rushed precariously 
through waist-high bushes until they reached the 
centre of the single-filed regiment. The firing 
then broke out in front. All the woods set up a 
hot sputtering ; the bullets sped along the path 
and across it from both sides. The thickets pre- 
sented nothing but dense masses of light green 
foliage, out of which these swift steel things were 
born supernaturally. 

It was a volunteer regiment going into its first 
action, against an enemy of unknown force, in a 
country where the vegetation was thicker than fur 
on a cat. There might have been a dreadful 


mess ; but in military matters the only way to deal 
with a situation of this kind is to take it frankly 
by the throat and squeeze it to death. Shackles 
and Little Nell felt the thrill of the orders. 
" Come ahead, men ! Keep right ahead, men ! 
Come on ! " The volunteer cavalry regiment, 
with all the willingness in the world, went ahead 
into the angle of V-shaped Spanish forma- 

It seemed that every leaf had turned into a 
soda-bottle and was popping its cork. Some of 
the explosions seemed to be against the men's 
very faces, others against the backs of their necks. 
" Now, men ! Keep goin' ahead. Keep on goin*. " 
The forward troops were already engaged. They, 
at least, had something at which to shoot. " Now, 
captain, if you're ready." " Stop that swear- 
ing there." "Got a match?" "Steady, now, 

A gate appeared in a barbed-wire fence. Within 
were billowy fields of long grass, dotted with 
palms and luxuriant mango trees. It was Elysian 
a place for lovers, fair as Eden in its radiance 
of sun, under its blue sky. One might have ex- 
pected to see white-robed figures walking slowly 
in trie shadows. A dead man, with a bloody face, 
lay twisted in a curious contortion at the waist. 


Someone was shot in the leg, his pins knocked 
cleanly from under him. 

" Keep goin', men." The air roared, and the 
ground fled reelingly under their feet. Light, 
shadow, trees, grass. Bullets spat from every 
side. Once they were in a thicket, and the men, 
blanched and bewildered, turned one way, and 
then another, not knowing which, way to turn. 
" Keep goin', men." Soon they were in the sun- 
light again. They could see the long scant line, 
which was being drained man by man one might 
say drop by drop. The musketry rolled forth in 
great full measure from the magazine carbines. 
"Keep goin', men." "Christ, I'm shot!" 
" They're flankin' us, sir." " We're bein' fired 
into by our own crowd, sir." " Keep goin', men." 
A low ridge before them was a bottling establish- 
ment blowing up in detail. From the right it 
seemed at that time to be the far right they 
could hear steady, crashing volleys the United 
States regulars in action. 

Then suddenly to use a phrase of the street 
the whole bottom of the thing fell out. It was 
suddenly and mysteriously ended. The Spaniards 
had run away, and some of the regulars were chas- 
ing them. It was a victory. 

When the wounded men dropped in the tall 


grass they quite disappeared, as if they had sunk 
in water. Little Nell and Shackles were walking 
along through the fields, disputing. 

" Well, damn it, man ! " cried Shackles, " we 
must get a list of the killed and wounded." 

" That is not nearly so important," quoth little 
Nell, academically, " as to get the first account to 
New York of .the first action of the army in Cuba." 

They came upon Tailor, lying with a bared torso 
and a small red hole through his left lung. He 
was calm, but evidently out of temper. " Good 
God, Tailor! " they cried, dropping to their knees 
like two pagans ; " are you hurt, old boy ? " 

"Hurt?" he said gently. " No, 'tis not so deep 
as a well nor so wide as a church-door, but 'tis 
enough, d' you see ? You understand, do you ? 
Idiots ! " 

Then he became very official. " Shackles, feel 
and see what's under my leg. It's a small stone, 
or a burr, or something. Don't be clumsy now ! 
Be careful ! Be careful ! " Then he said, angrily , 
" Oh, you didn't find it at all. Damn it ! " 

In reality there was nothing there, and so 
Shackles could not have removed it. " Sorry, old 
boy," he said, meekly. 

" Well, you may observe that I can't stay here 
more than a year," said Tailor, with some oratory, 


" and the hospital people have their own work in 
hand. It behoves you, Nell, to fly to Siboney, 
arrest a despatch boat, get a cot and some other 
things, and some minions to carry me. If I get 
once down to the base I'm all right, but if I stay 
here I'm dead. Meantime Shackles can stay here 
and try to look as if he liked it." 

There was no disobey ing the man. Lying there 
with a little red hole in his left lung, he dominated 
them through his helplessness, and through their 
fear that if they angered him he would move and 

" Well ? " said Little Nell. 

" Yes," said Shackles, nodding. 

Little Nell departed. 

"That blanket you lent me," Tailor called after 
him, " is back there somewhere with Point." 

Little Nell noted that many of the men who 
were wandering among the wounded seemed so 
spent with the toil and excitement of their first 
action that they could hardly drag one leg after 
the other. He found himself suddenly in the 
same condition, His face, his neck, even his 
mouth, felt dry as sun-baked bricks, and his legs 
were foreign to him. But he swung desperately 
into his five-mile task. On the way he passed 
many things : bleeding men carried by comrades ; 


others making their way grimly, with encrimsoned 
arms ; then the little settlement of the hospital 
squad ; men on the ground everywhere, many in 
the path ; one young captain dying, with great 
gasps, his body pale blue, and glistening, like the 
inside of a rabbit's skin. But the voice of the 
Cuban wood-dove, soft, mellow, sweet, singing 
only of love, was no longer heard from the wealth 
of foliage. 

Presently the hurrying correspondent met an- 
other regiment coming to assist a line of a thou- 
sand men in single file through the jungle. " Well, 
how is it going, old man ? " " How is it coming 
on ? " " Are we doin' 'em ? " Then, after an in- 
terval, came other regiments, moving out. He 
had to take to the bush to let these long lines 
pass him, and he was delayed, and had to flounder 
amid brambles. But at last, like a successful pil- 
grim, he arrived at the brow of the great hill over- 
looking Siboney. His practised eye scanned the 
fine broad brow of the sea with its clustering ships, 
but he saw thereon no Eclipse despatch boats. He 
zigzagged heavily down the hill, and arrived finally 
amid the dust and outcries of the base. He seemed 
to ask a thousand men if they had seen an Eclipse 
boat on the water, or an Eclipse correspondent on 
the shore. They all answered, " No." 


He was like a poverty-stricken and unknown 
suppliant at a foreign Court. Even his plea got 
only ill-hearings. He had expected the news of 
the serious wounding of Tailor to appal the other 
correspondents, but they took it quite calmly. It 
was as if their sense of an impending great battle 
between two large armies had quite got them out 
of focus for these minor tragedies. Tailor was 
hurt yes? They looked at Little Nell, dazed. 
How curious that Tailor should be almost the first 
how very curious yes. But, as far as arousing 
them to any enthusiasm of active pity, it seemed 
impossible. He was lying up there in the grass, 
was he ? Too bad, too bad, too bad ! 

Little Nell went alone and lay down in the 
sand with his back against a rock. Tailor was 
prostrate up there in the grass. Never mind. 
Nothing was to be done. The whole situation 
was too colossal. Then into his zone came 
Walkley the invincible. 

" Walkley ! " yelled Little Nell. Walkley came 
quickly, and Little Nell lay weakly . against his 
rock and talked. In thirty seconds Walkley 
understood everything, had hurled a drink of 
whisky into Little Nell, had admonished him to 
lie quiet, and had gone to organise and manipu- 
late. When he returned he was a trifle dubious 


and backward. Behind him was a singular squad 
of volunteers from the Adolphus, carrying among 
them a wire-woven bed. 

"Look here, Nell !" said Walkley, in bashful 
accents ; " I've collected a battalion here which 
is willing to go bring Tailor ; but they say you 
can't you show them where he is ? " 

" Yes," said Little Nell, arising. 

When the party arrived at Siboney, and de- 
posited Tailor in the best place, Walkley had 
found a house and stocked it with canned soups. 
Therein Shackles and Little Nell revelled for a 
time, and then rolled on the floor in their blankets. 
Little Nell tossed a great deal. " Oh, I'm so tired. 
Good God, I'm tired. I'm tired." 

In the morning a voice aroused them. It was 
a swollen, important, circus voice saying, " Where 
is Mr. Nell ? I wish to see him immediately." 

" Here I am, Rogers," cried Little Nell. 

" Oh, Nell," said Rogers, " here's a despatch to 
me which I thought you had better read." 

Little Nell took the despatch. It was : " Tell 
Nell can't understand his inaction ; tell him come 
home first steamer from Port Antonio, Jamaica." 



" STAND by." 

Shackles had come down from the bridge of 
the Adolphus and flung this command at three 
fellow-correspondents who in the galley were 
busy with pencils trying to write something excit- 
ing and interesting from four days quiet cruising. 
They looked up casually. " What for ? They 
did not intend to arouse for nothing. Ever since 
Shackles had heard the men of the navy directing 
each other to stand by for this thing and that 
thing, he had used the two words as his pet 
phrase and was continually telling his friends to 
stand by. Sometimes its portentous and em- 
phatic reiteration became highly exasperating 
and men were apt to retort sharply. " Well, I 
am standing by, ain't I ? " On this occasion 
they detected that he was serious. " Well, 
what for ? " they repeated. In his answer Shackles 
was reproachful as well as impressive. " Stand 

by ? Stand by for a Spanish gunboat. A Span- 



ish gunboat in chase ! Stand by for two Spanish 
gunboats both of them in chase ! " 

The others looked at him for a brief space and 
were almost certain that they saw truth written 
upon his countenance. Whereupon they tumbled 
out of the galley and galloped up to the bridge. 
The cook with a mere inkling of tragedy was now 
out on deck bawling, " What's the matter ? 
What's the matter ? What's the matter ? " 
Aft, the grimy head of a stoker was thrust sud- 
denly up through the deck, so to speak. The 
eyes flashed in a quick look astern and then the 
head vanished. The correspondents were scram- 
bling on the bridge. " Where's my glasses, damn 
it ? Here let me take a look. Are they Span- 
iards, Captain ? Are you sure ? " 

The skipper of the Adolphus was at the wheel. 
The pilot-house was so arranged that he could 
not see astern without hanging forth from one of 
the side windows, but apparently he had made 
early investigation. He did not reply at once. 
At sea, he never replied at once to questions. At 
the very first, Shackles had discovered the merits 
of this deliberate manner and had taken delight 
in it. He invariably detailed his talk with the 
captain to the other correspondents. "Look 
here. I've just been to see the skipper. I said ' I 


would like to put into Cape Haytien.' Then he 
took a little think. Finally he said : ' All right.' 
Then I said : ' I suppose we'll need to take on 
more coal there ? ' He took another little think. 
I said : l Ever ran into that port before ? ' He 
took another little think. Finally he said : ' Yes.' 
I said ' Have a cigar ? ' He took another little 
think. See ? There's where I fooled 'im " 

While the correspondents spun the hurried 
questions at him, the captain of the Adolphus 
stood with his brown hands on the wheel and his 
cold glance aligned straight over the bow of his 

" Are they Spanish gunboats, Captain ? Are 
they, Captain ? " 

After a profound pause, he said : " Yes." The 
four correspondents hastily and in perfect time 
presented their backs to him and fastened their 
gaze on the pursuing foe. They saw a dull grey 
curve of sea going to the feet of the high green 
and blue coast-line of north-eastern Cuba, and on 
this sea were two miniature ships with clouds of 
iron-coloured smoke pouring from their funnels. 

One of the correspondents strolled elaborately 
to the pilot-house. " Aw Captain," he drawled, 
" do you think they can catch us ? " 

The captain's glance was still aligned over the 


bow of his ship. Ultimately he answered : " I 
don't know." 

From the top of the little Adolphus stack, 
thick dark smoke swept level for a few yards and 
then went rolling to leaward in great hot obscur- 
ing clouds. From time to time the grimy head 
was thrust through the deck, the eyes took the 
quick look astern and then the head vanished. 
The cook was trying to get somebody to listen to 
him. " Well, you know, damn it all, it won't be 
no fun to be ketched by them Spaniards. Be- 
Gawd, it won't. Look here, what do you think 
they'll do to us, hey ? Say, I don't like this, you 
know. I'm damned if I do." The sea, cut by 
the hurried bow of the Adolphns, flung its waters 
astern in the formation of a wide angle and the 
lines of the angle ruffled and hissed as they fled, 
while the thumping screw tormented the water at 
the stern. The frame of the steamer underwent 
regular convulsions as in the strenuous sobbing of 
a child. 

The mate was standing near the pilot-house. 
Without looking at him, the captain spoke his 
name. " Ed ! " 

" Yes, sir," cried the mate with alacrity. 

The captain reflected for a moment. Then he 
said : " Are they gainin' on us ? " 


The mate took another anxious survey of the 
race. " No o yes, I think they are a little." 

After a pause the captain said : " Tell the chief 
to shake her up more." 

The mate, glad of an occupation in these tense 
minutes, flew down ' to the engine-room door. 
" Skipper says shake 'er up more ! " he bawled. The 
head of the chief engineer appeared, a grizzly head 
now wet with oil and sweat. " What ? " he shouted 
angrily. It was as if he had been propelling the 
ship with his own arms. Now he was told that 
his best was not good enough. " What ? shake 
'er up more ? Why she can't carry another pound, 
I tell you ! Not another ounce ! We Sud- 
denly he ran forward and climbed to the bridge. 
" Captain," he cried in the loud harsh voice of one 
who lived usually amid the thunder of machinery, 
" she can't do it, sir ! Be-Gawd, she can't ! She's 
turning over now faster than she ever did in her 
life and we'll all blow to hell " 

The low-toned, impassive voice of the captain 
suddenly checked the chief 's clamour. " I'll blow 
her up," he said, " but I won't git ketched if I 
kin help it." Even then the listening corre- 
spondents found a second in which to marvel that 
the captain had actually explained his point of 
view to another human being. 


The engineer stood blank. Then suddenly he 
cried : " All right, sir ! " He threw a hurried 
look of despair at the correspondents, the deck of 
the Adolphus, the pursuing enemy, Cuba, the sky 
and the sea ; he vanished in the direction of his 

A correspondent was suddenly regifted with 
the power of prolonged speech. " Well, you see, 
the game is up, damn it. See ? We can't get 
out of it. The skipper will blow up the whole 
bunch before he'll let his ship be taken, and the 
Spaniards are gaining. Well, that's what comes 
from going to war in an eight-knot tub." He bit- 
terly accused himself, the others, and the dark, 
sightless, indifferent world. 

This certainty of coming evil affected each one 
differently. One was made garrulous ; one kept 
absent-mindedly snapping his fingers and gazing 
at the sea ; another stepped nervously to and fro, 
looking everywhere as if for employment for his 
mind. As for Shackles he was silent and smiling, 
but it was a new smile that caused the lines about 
his mouth to betray quivering weakness. And 
each man looked at the others to discover their 
degree of fear and did his best to conceal his own, 
holding his crackling nerves with all his strength. 

As the Adolphus rushed on, the sun suddenly 


emerged from behind grey clouds and its rays 
dealt titanic blows so that in a few minutes the 
sea was a glowing blue plain with the golden shine 
dancing at the tips of the waves. The coast of 
Cuba glowed with light. The pursuers displayed 
detail after detail* in the new atmosphere. The 
voice of the cook was heard in high vexation. 
" Am I to git dinner as usual ? How do I know ? 
Nobody tells me what to do? Am I to git 
dinner as usual ? " 

The mate answered ferociously. " Of course 
you are ! What do you s'pose ? Ain't you the 
cook, you damn fool ? " 

The cook retorted in a mutinous scream. 
" Well, how would I know ? If this ship is goin' 
to blow up " 


The captain called from the pilot-house. " Mr. 
Shackles ! Oh, Mr. Shackles ! " The correspond- 
ent moved hastily to a window. " What is it, 
Captain?" The skipper of the Adolphus raised 
a battered finger and pointed over the bows. 
" See 'er ? " he asked, laconic but quietly jubilant. 

Another steamer was smoking at full speed over 


the sun-lit seas. A great billow of pure white 
was on her bows. " Great Scott ! " cried Shack- 
les. " Another Spaniard ? " 

" No," said the captain, " that there is a United 
States cruiser ! " 

" What ? " Shackles was dumfounded into 
muscular paralysis. " No ! Are you sure f " 

The captain nodded. " Sure, take the glass. 
See her ensign ? Two funnels, two masts with 
fighting tops. She ought to be the Chancellor* 

Shackles choked. " Well, I'm blowed ! " 

" Ed ! " said the captain. 

" Yessir ! " 

" Tell the chief there is no hurry." 

Shackles suddenly bethought him of his com- 
panions. He dashed to them and was full of 
quick scorn of their gloomy faces. " Hi, brace 
up there ! Are you blind ? Can't you see her? " 

"See what?" 

" Why, the Chancellorville, you blind mice ! " 
roared Shackles. " See 'er ? See 'er ? See 'er ? " 

The others sprang, saw, and collapsed. Shack- 
les was a madman for the purpose of distributing 
the news. " Cook ! " he shrieked. " Don't you 
see 'er, cook ? Good Gawd, man, don't you see 
'er ? " He ran to the lower deck and howled his 


information everywhere. Suddenly the whole 
ship smiled. Men clapped each other on the 
shoulder and joyously shouted. The captain 
thrust his head from the pilot-house to look back 
at the Spanish ships. Then he looked at the 
American cruiser. " Now, we'll see," he said 
grimly and vindictively to the mate. " Guess 
somebody else will do some running," the mate 

The two gunboats were still headed hard for 
the Adolphus and she kept on her way. The 
American cruiser was coming swiftly. " It's the 
Chancellorville ! " cried Shackles. " I know her ! 
We'll see a fight at sea, my boys ! A fight at 
sea ! " The enthusiastic correspondents pranced 
in Indian revels. 

The Chancellorville 2000 tons 18.6 knots 
10 five-inch guns came on tempestuously, sheer- 
ing the water high with her sharp bow. From 
her funnels the smoke raced away in driven sheets. 
She loomed with extraordinary rapidity like a 
ship bulging and growing out of the sea. She 
swept by the Adolphus so close that one could 
have thrown a walnut on board. She was a glis- 
tening grey apparition with a blood-red water- 
line, with brown gun-muzzles and white-clothed 
motionless jack-tars; and in her rush she was 


silent, deadly silent. Probably there entered the 
mind of every man on board the Adolphus a feel- 
ing of almost idolatry for this living thing, stern 
but, to their thought, incomparably beautiful. 
They would have cheered but that each man 
seemed to feel that a cheer would be too puny a 

It was at first as if she did not see the Adolphus. 
She was going to pass without heeding this little 
vagabond of the high-seas. But suddenly a mega- 
phone gaped over the rail of her bridge and a 
voice was heard measuredly, calmly intoning. 
" Hellothere! Keep well to the north'ard 
and out of my way and I'll go in and 

see what those people want " Then 

nothing was heard but the swirl of water. In a 
moment the Adolphus was looking at a high grey 
stern. On the quarter-deck, sailors were poised 
about the breach of the after-pivot-gun. 

The correspondents were revelling. " Cap- 
tain," yelled Shackles, " we can't miss this ! We 
must see it ! " But the skipper had already flung 
over the wheel. " Sure," he answered almost at 
once. " We can't miss it." 

The cook was arrogantly, grossly triumphant. 
His voice rang along the deck. " There, now ! 
How will the Spinachers like that ? Now, it's 


our turn ! We've been doin' therunnin' away but 
now we'll do the chasin' ! " Apparently feeling 
some twinge of nerves from the former strain, he 
suddenly demanded : " Say, who's got any whis- 
ky ? I'm near dead for a drink." 

When the Adolphus came about, she laid her 
course for a position to the northward of a com- 
ing battle, but the situation suddenly became 
complicated. When the Spanish ships discovered 
the identity of the ship that was steaming toward 
them, they did not hesitate over their plan of 
action. With one accord they turned and ran for 
port. Laughter arose from the Adolphus. The 
captain broke his orders, and, instead of keeping 
to the northward, he headed in the wake of the 
impetuous Ckancellorville. The correspondents 
crowded on the bow. 

The Spaniards when their broadsides became 
visible were seen to be ships of no importance, 
mere little gunboats for work in the shallows 
back of the reefs, and it was certainly discreet to 
refuse encounter with the five-inch guns of the 
Chance llorville. But the joyful Adolphus took 
no account of this discretion. The pursuit of the 
Spaniards had been so ferocious that the quick 
change to heels-overhead flight filled that cor- 
ner of the mind which is devoted to the spirit of 


revenge. It was this that moved Shackles to yell 
taunts futilely at the far-away ships. " Well, how 
do you like it, eh ? How do you like it ? " The 
Adolphus was drinking compensation for her pre- 
vious agony. 

The mountains of the shore now shadowed high 
into the sky and the square white houses of a 
town could be seen near a vague cleft which 
seemed to mark the entrance to a port. The 
gunboats were now near to it. 

Suddenly white smoke streamed from the bow 
of the Chancellorville and developed swiftly into 
a great bulb which drifted in fragments down the 
wind. Presently the deep-throated boom of the 
gun came to the ears on board the Adolphus. 
The shot kicked up a high jet of water into the 
air astern of the last gunboat. The black smoke 
from the funnels of the cruiser made her look like 
a collier on fire, and in her desperation she tried 
many more long shots, but presently the Adolphus, 
murmuring disappointment, saw the Chancellor- 
ville sheer from the chase. 

In time they came up with her and she was an 
indignant ship. Gloom and wrath was on the 
forecastle and wrath and gloom was on the quar- 
ter-deck. A sad voice from the bridge said : 
" Just missed 'em." Shackles gained permission 


to board the cruiser, and in the cabin, he talked 
to Lieutenant-Commander Surrey, tall, bald- 
headed and angry. " Shoals," said the captain 
of the Chancellorville. " I can't go any nearer 
and those gunboats could steam along a stone 
sidewalk if only it was wet." Then his bright 
eyes became brighter. " I tell you what ! The 
Chicken, the Holy Moses and the Mongolian are 
on station off Nuevitas. If you will do me a 
favour why, to-morrow I will give those people 
a game ! " 


The Chancellorville lay all night watching off 
the port of the two gunboats and, soon after day- 
light, the lookout descried three smokes to trie 
westward and they were later made out to be the 
Chicken, the Holy Moses and the Adolphus, the 
latter tagging hurriedly after the United States 

The Chicken had been a harbour tug but she was 
now the U. S. S. Chicken, by your leave. She 
carried a six-pounder forward and a six-pounder 
aft and her main point was her conspicuous vul- 
nerability. The Holy Moses had been the private 
yacht of a Philadelphia millionaire. She carried 


six six-pounders and her main point was the chaste 
beauty of the officer's quarters. 

On the bridge of the Chancellor ville. Lieutenant- 
Commander Surrey surveyed his squadron with 
considerable satisfaction. Presently he signalled 
to the lieutenant who commanded the Holy 
Moses and to the boatswain who commanded the 
Chicken to come aboard the flag-ship. This was 
all very well for the captain of the yacht, but it 
was not so easy for the captain of the tug-boat 
who had two heavy lifeboats swung fifteen feet 
above the water. He had been accustomed to 
talking with senior officers from his own pilot 
house through the intercession of the blessed 
megaphone. However he got a lifeboat over- 
side and was pulled to the Chancellor ville by three 
men which cut his crew almost into halves. 

In the cabin of the Chancellor ville, Surrey dis- 
closed to his two captains his desires concerning 
the Spanish gunboats and they were glad for 
being ordered down from the Nuevitas station 
where life was very dull. He also announced that 
there was a shore battery containing, he believed, 
four field guns three-point-twos. His draught 
he spoke of it as his draught would enable him 
to go in close enough to engage the battery at 
moderate range, but he pointed out that the main 


parts of the attempt to destroy the Spanish gun- 
boats must be left to the Holy Moses and the 
Chicken. His business, he thought, could only 
be to keep the air so singing about the ears of the 
battery that the men at the guns would be unable 
to take an interest in the dash of the smaller 
American craft into the bay. 

The officers spoke in their turns. The captain 
of the Chicken announced that he saw no diffi- 
culties. The squadron would follow the senior 
officer in line ahead, the S. O. would engage the 
batteries as soon as possible, she would turn to 
starboard when the depth of water forced her to 
do so and the Holy Moses and the Chicken would 
run past her into the bay and fight the Spanish 
ships wherever they were to be found. The 
captain of the Holy Moses after some moments 
of dignified thought said that he had no sugges- 
tions to make that would better this plan. 

Surrey pressed an electric bell ; a marine orderly 
appeared ; he was sent with a message. The 
message brought the navigating officer of the 
Chancellorville to the cabin and the four men 
nosed over a chart. 

In the end Surrey declared that he had made 
up his mind and the juniors remained in expect- 
ant silence for three minutes while he stared at 


the bulkhead. Then he said that the plan of the 
Chicken's captain seemed to him correct in the 
main. He would make one change. It was that 
he should first steam in and engage the battery 
and the other vessels should remain in their pres- 
ent positions until he signalled them to run into 
the bay. If the squadron steamed ahead in line, 
the battery could, if it chose, divide its fire be- 
tween the cruiser and the gunboats constituting 
the more important attack. He had no doubt, 
he said, that he could soon silence the battery by 
tumbling the earth-works on to the guns and 
driving away the men even if he did not succeed 
in hitting the pieces. Of course he had no doubt 
of being able to silence the battery in twenty 
minutes. Then he would signal for the Holy 
Moses and the Chicken to make their rush, and of 
course he would support them with his fire as 
much as conditions enabled him. He arose then 
indicating that the conference was at an end. In 
the few moments more that all four men remained 
in the cabin, the talk changed its character com- 
pletely. It was now unofficial, and the sharp 
badinage concealed furtive affections, Academy 
friendships, the feelings of old-time ship-mates, 
hiding everything under a veil of jokes. " Well, 
good luck to you, old boy ! Don't get that val- 


uable packet of yours sunk under you. Think 
how it would weaken the navy. Would you mind 
buying me three pairs of pajamas in the town 
yonder ? If your engines get disabled, tote her 
under your arm. You can do it. Good-bye, old 

man, don't forget to come out all right " 

When the captains of the Holy Moses and the 
the Chicken emerged from the cabin, they strode 
the deck with a new step. They were proud 
men. The marine on duty above their boats 
looked at them curiously and with awe. He de- 
tected something which meant action, conflict, 
The boats' crews saw it also. As they pulled their 
steady stroke, they studied fleetingly the face of 
the officer in the stern sheets. In both cases they 
perceived a glad man and yet a man filled with a 
profound consideration of the future. 


A bird-like whistle stirred the decks of the 
Chancellorville. It was followed by the hoarse 
bellowing of the boatswain's mate. As the cruiser 
turned her bow toward the shore, she happened 
to steam near the Adolphus. The usual calm 
voice hailed the despatch boat. " Keep that 


gauze under-shirt of yours well out of the 
line of fire." 

" Ay, ay, sir ! " 

The cruiser then moved slowly toward the 
shore, watched by every eye in the smaller Amer- 
ican vessels. She was deliberate and steady, and 
this was reasonable even to the impatience of the 
other craft because the wooded shore was likely 
to suddenly develop new factors. Slowly she 
swung to starboard ; smoke belched over her and 
the roar of a gun came along the water. 

The battery was indicated by a long thin streak 
of yellow earth. The first shot went high, plough- 
ing the chaparral on the hillside. The Chancel- 
lorville wore an air for a moment of being deep in 
meditation. She flung another shell, which landed 
squarely on the earth-work, making a great dun 
cloud. Before the smoke had settled, there was 
a crimson flash from the battery. To the watchers 
at sea, it was smaller than a needle. The shot 
made a geyser of crystal water, four hundred yards 
from the Chancellorville. 

The cruiser, having made up her mind, suddenly 
went at the battery, hammer and tongs. She 
moved to and fro casually, but the thunder of her 
guns was gruff and angry. Sometimes she was 
quite hidden in her own smoke, but with exceed- 


ing regularity the earth of the battery spurted 
into the air. The Spanish shells, for the most 
part, went high and wide of the cruiser, jetting the 
water far away. 

Once a Spanish gunner took a festive side-show 
chance at the waiting group of the three nonde- 
scripts. . It went like a flash over the Adolphus, 
singing a wistful metallic note. Whereupon the 
Adolphus broke hurriedly for the open sea, and 
men on the Holy Moses and the Chicken laughed 
hoarsely and cruelly. The correspondents had 
been standing excitedly on top of the pilot-house, 
but at the passing of the shell, they promptly 
eliminated themselves by dropping with a thud to 
the deck below. The cook again was giving 
tongue. " Oh, say, this won't do ! I'm damned 
if it will ! We ain't no armoured cruiser, you 
know. If one of them shells hits us well, we 
finish right there. 'Tain't like as if it was our 
business, foolin' 'round within the range of them 
guns. There's no sense in it. Them other fel- 
lows don't seem to mind it, but it's their business. 
If it's your business, you go ahead and do it, but 
if it ain't, you look at that, would you ! " 

The Chancellorville had sent up a spread of 
flags, and the Holy Moses and the Chicken were 
steaming in. 


They, on the Chance llorville, sometimes could 
see into the bay, and they perceived the enemy's 
gunboats moving out as if to give battle. Surrey 
feared that this impulse would not endure or that 
it was some mere pretence for the edification of 
the town's people and the garrison, so he hastily 
signalled the Holy Moses and the Chicken to go 
in. Thankful for small favours, they came on like 
charging bantams. The battery had ceased firing. 
As the two auxiliaries passed under the stern of 
the cruiser, the megaphone hailed them. " You 
will see the en em y soon as you 
round the point. A fine chance. Good 

As a matter of fact, the Spanish gunboats had 
not been informed of the presence of the Holy 
Moses and the Chicken off the bar, and they were 
just blustering down the bay over the protective 
shoals to make it appear that they scorned the 
Chance llorville. But suddenly, from around the 
point, there burst into view a steam yacht, closely 
followed by a harbour tug. The gunboats took 
one swift look at this horrible sight and fled 


Lieutenant Reigate, commanding the Holy 
Moses, had under his feet a craft that was capable 
of some speed, although before a solemn tribunal, 
one would have to admit that she conscientiously 
belied almost everything that the contractors had 
said of her, originally. Boatswain Pent, command- 
ing the Chicken, was in possession of an utterly 
different kind. The Holy Moses was an antelope ; 
the Chicken was a man who could carry a piano 
on his back. In this race Pent had the mortifica- 
tion of seeing his vessel outstripped badly. 

The entrance of the two American craft had 
had a curious effect upon the shores of the bay. 
Apparently everyone had slept in the assurance 
that the Chancellorville could not cross the bar, 
and that the Chancellorville was the only hostile 
ship. Consequently, the appearance of the Holy 
Moses and the Chicken, created a curious and com- 
plete emotion. Reigate, on the bridge of the 
Holy Moses, laughed when he heard the bugles 
shrilling and saw through his glasses the wee 
figures of men running hither and thither on the 
shore. It was the panic of the china when the 
bull entered the shop. The whole bay was bright 
with sun. Every detail of the shore was plain. 
From a brown hut abeam of the Holy Moses, 
some little men ran out waving their arms and 


turning their tiny faces to look at the enemy. 
Directly ahead, some four miles, appeared the 
scattered white houses of a town with a wharf, and 
some schooners in front of it. The gunboats were 
making for the town. There was a stone fort on 
the hill overshadowing, but Reigate conjectured 
that there was no artillery in it. 

There was a sense of something intimate and 
impudent in the minds of the Americans. It was 
like climbing over a wall and fighting a man in 
his own garden. It was not that they could be in 
any wise shaken in their resolve ; it was simply 
that the overwhelmingly Spanish aspect of things 
made them feel like gruff intruders. Like many 
of the emotions of war-time, this emotion had 
nothing at all to do with war. 

Reigate's only commissioned subordinate called 
up from the bow gun. " May I open fire, sir ? I 
think I can fetch that last one." 

"Yes." Immediately the six-pounder crashed, 
and in the air was the spinning-wire noise of the 
flying shot. It struck so close to the last gunboat 
that it appeared that the spray went aboard. The 
swift-handed men at the gun spoke of it. " Gave 'm 
a bath that time anyhow. First one they've ever 
had. Dry 'em off this time, Jim." The young 
ensign said : " Steady." And so the Holy Moses 


raced in, firing, until the whole town, fort, water- 
front, and shipping were as plain as if they had been 
done on paper by a mechanical draftsman. The 
gunboats were trying to hide in the bosom of the 
town. One was frantically tying up to the wharf 
and the other was anchoring within a hundred 
yards of the shore. The Spanish infantry, of 
course, had dug trenches along the beach, and sud- 
denly the air over the Holy Moses sung with bul- 
lets. The shore-line thrummed with musketry. 
Also some antique shells screamed. 


The Chicken was doing her best. Pent's post- 
ure at the wheel seemed to indicate that her best 
was about thirty-four knots. In his eagerness he 
was braced as if he alone was taking in a 10,000 
ton battleship through Hell Gate. 

But the Chicken was not too far in the rear and 
Eent could see clearly that he was to have no 
minor part to play. Some of the antique shells 
had struck the Holy Moses and he could see the 
escaped steam shooting up from her. She lay. 
close inshore and was lashing out with four six- 
pounders as if this was the last opportunity she 


would have to fire them. She had made the 
Spanish gunboats very sick. A solitary gun on 
the one moored to the wharf was from time to 
time firing wildly ; otherwise the gunboats were 
silent. But the beach in front of the town was a 
line of fire. The Chicken headed for the Holy 
Moses and, as soon as possible, the six-pounder 
in her bow began to crack at the gunboat moored 
to the wharf. 

In the meantime, the Chancellorville prowled 
off the bar, listening to the firing, anxious, acutely 
anxious, and feeling her impotency in every inch 
of her smart steel frame. And in the meantime, 
the Adolphus squatted on the waves and brazenly 
waited for news. One could thoughtfully count 
the seconds and reckon that, in this second and 
that second, a man had died if one chose. But 
no one did it. Undoubtedly, the spirit was that 
the flag should come away with honour, honour 
complete, perfect, leaving no loose unfinished end 
over which the Spaniards could erect a monument 
of satisfaction, glorification. The distant guns 
boomed to the ears of the silent blue-jackets at 
their stations on the cruiser. 

The Chicken steamed up to the Holy Moses 
and took into her nostrils the odour of steam, gun- 
powder and burnt things. Rifle bullets simply 


steamed over them both. In the merest flash of 
time, Pent took into his remembrance the body 
of a dead quartermaster on the bridge of his con- 
sort. The two megaphones uplifted together, but 
Pent's eager voice cried out first. 

" Are you injured, sir ? " 

" No, not completely. My engines can get me 
out after after we have sunk those gunboats." 
The voice had been utterly conventional but it 
changed to sharpness. " Go in and sink that gun- 
boat at anchor." 

As the Chicken rounded the Holy Moses and 
started inshore, a man called to him from the 
depths of finished disgust. " They're takin' to 
their boats, sir." Pent looked and saw the men 
of the anchored gunboat lower their boats and 
pull like mad for shore. 

The Chicken, assisted by the Holy Moses, be- 
gan a methodical killing of the anchored gun- 
boat. The Spanish infantry on shore fired fren- 
ziedly at the Chicken. Pent, giving the wheel to 
a waiting sailor, stepped out to a point where he 
could see the men at the guns. One bullet 
spanged past him and into the pilot-house. He 
ducked his head into the window. " That hit 
you, Murry ? " he inquired with interest. 

" No, sir," cheerfully responded the man at the 


Pent became very busy superintending the fire 
of his absurd battery. The anchored gunboat 
simply would not sink. It evinced that unnatural 
stubbornness which is sometimes displayed by 
inanimate objects. The gunboat at the wharf 
had sunk as if she had been scuttled but this 
riddled thing at anchor would not even take fire. 
Pent began to grow flurried privately. He could 
not stay there for ever. Why didn't the damned 
gunboat admit its destruction. Why 

He was at the forward gun when one of his 
engine room force came to him and, after saluting, 
said serenely : " The men at the after-gun are all 
down, sir." 

It was one of those curious lifts which an en- 
listed man, without in any way knowing it, can 
give his officer. The impudent tranquillity of the 
man at once set Pent to rights and the stoker de- 
parted admiring the extraordinary coolness of his 

The next few moments contained little but heat, 
an odour, applied mechanics and an expectation of 
death. Pent developed a fervid and amazed ap- 
preciation of the men, his men, men he knew very 
well, but strange men. What explained them? 
He was doing his best because he was captain of 
the Chicken and he lived or died by the Chicken. 


But what could move these men to watch his eye 
in bright anticipation of his orders and then obey 
them with enthusiastic rapidity ? What caused 
them to speak of the action as some kind of a 
joke particularly when they knew he could over- 
hear them ? What manner of men ? And he 
anointed them secretly with his fullest affection. 

Perhaps Pent did not think all this during the 
battle. Perhaps he thought it so soon after the 
battle that his full mind became confused as to 
the time. At any rate, it stands as an expression 
of his feeling. 

The enemy had gotten a field-gun down to the 
shore and with it they began to throw three-inch 
shells at the Chicken. In this war it was usual that 
the down-trodden Spaniards in their ignorance 
should use smokeless powder while the Americans, 
by the power of the consistent everlasting three- 
ply, wire-woven, double back-action imbecility of a 
hay-seed government, used powder which on sea 
and on land cried their position to heaven, and, 
accordingly, good men got killed without reason. 
At first, Pent could not locate the field-gun at all, 
but as soon as he found it, he ran aft with one 
man and brought the after six-pounder again into 
action. He paid little heed to the old gun crew. 
One was lying on his face apparently dead ; an- 


other was prone with a wound in the chest, while 
the third sat with his back to the deck-house 
holding a smitten arm. This last one called out 
huskily, " Give 'm hell, sir." 

The minutes of the battle were either days, 
years, or they were flashes of a second. Once 
Pent looking up was astonished to see three shell 
holes in the Chickens funnel made surrepti- 
tiously, so to speak. . . . " If we don't silence that 
field-gun, she'll sink us, boys." . . . The eyes of 
the man sitting with his back against the deck- 
house were looking from out his ghastly face at 
the new gun-crew. He spoke with the supreme 
laziness of a wounded man. " Give 'm hell." . . . 
Pent felt a sudden twist of his shoulder. He was 
wounded slightly. . . . The anchored gunboat 
was in flames. 


PENT took his little blood-stained tow-boat out 
to the Holy Moses. The yacht was already under 
way for the bay entrance. As they were passing 
out of range the Spaniards heroically redoubled 
their fire which is their custom. Pent, moving 
busily about the decks, stopped suddenly at the 
door of the engine-room. His face was set and 


his eyes were steely. He spoke to one of the en- 
gineers. " During the action I saw you firing at 
the enemy with a rifle. I told you once to stop, 
and then I saw you at it again. Pegging away 
with a rifle is no part of your business. I want 
you to understand that you are in trouble." The 
humbled man did not raise his eyes from the deck. 
Presently the Holy Moses displayed an anxiety for 
the Chicken's health. 

" One killed and four wounded, sir." 
" Have you enough men left to work your ship ? " 
After deliberation, Pent answered : " No, sir." 
" Shall I send you assistance ? " 
" No, sir. I can get to sea all right." 
As they neared the point they were edified by 
the sudden appearance of a serio-comic ally. The 
Chancellor ville at last had been unable to stand 
the strain, and had sent in her launch with an 
ensign, five seamen and a number of marksmen 
marines. She swept hot-foot around the point, 
bent on terrible slaughter ; the one-pounder of 
her bow presented a formidable appearance. The 
Holy Moses and the Chicken laughed until they 
brought indignation to the brow of the young 
ensign. But he forgot it when with some of his 
men he boarded the Chicken to do what was pos- 
sible for the wounded. The nearest surgeon was 


aboard the Chancellorville. There was absolute 
silence on board the cruiser as the Holy Moses 
steamed up to report. The blue-jackets listened 
with all their ears. The commander of the yacht 
spoke slowly into his megaphone : " We have 
destroyed the two gun-boats sir." There was 
a burst of confused cheering on the forecastle of 
the Chancellorville ', but an officer's cry quelled it. 

" Very good. Will you come aboard ? " 

Two correspondents were already on the deck 
of the cruiser. Before the last of the wounded 
were hoisted aboard the cruiser the Adolphus was 
on her way to Key West. When she arrived at 
that port of desolation Shackles fled to file the 
telegrams and the other correspondents fled to 
the hotel for clothes, good clothes, clean clothes ; 
and food, good food, much food ; and drink, much 
drink, any kind of drink. 

Days afterward, when the officers of the noble 
squadron received the newspapers containing an 
account of their performance, they looked at each 
other somewhat dejectedly : " Heroic assault 
grand daring of Boatswain Pent superb accuracy 
of the Holy Moses fire gallant tars of the Chicken 
their names should be remembered as long as 
America stands terrible losses of the enemy " 

When the Secretary of the Navy ultimately 


read the report of Commander Surrey, S. O. P., 
he had to prick himself with a dagger in order to 
remember that anything at all out of the ordinary 
had occurred 


THE moonlight was almost steady blue flame 
and all this radiance was lavished out upon a still 
lifeless wilderness of stunted trees and cactus 
plants. The shadows lay upon the ground, pools of 
black and sharply outlined, resembling substances, 
fabrics, and not shadows at all. From afar came 
the sound of the sea coughing among the hollows 
in the coral rock. 

The land was very empty; one could easily 
imagine that Cuba was a simple vast solitude ; one 
could wonder at the moon taking all the trouble 
of this splendid illumination. There was no wind ; 
nothing seemed to live. 

But in a particular large group of shadows lay 
an outpost of some forty United States marines. 
If it had been possible to approach them from 
any direction without encountering one of their 
sentries, one could have gone stumbling among 
sleeping men and men who sat waiting, their 
blankets tented over their heads ; one would have 
been in among them before one's mind could have 


decided whether they were men or devils. If a 
marine moved, he took the care and the time of 
one who walks across a death-chamber. The lieu- 
tenant in command reached for his watch and the 
nickel chain gave forth the faintest tinkling sound. 
He could see the glistening five or six pairs of 
eyes that slowly turned to regard him. His ser- 
geant lay near him and he bent his face down to 
whisper. " Who's on post behind the big cactus 
plant ? " 

" Dryden," rejoined the sergeant just over his 

After a pause the lieutenant murmured : " He's 
got too many nerves. I shouldn't have put him 
there." The sergeant asked if he should crawl 
down and look into affairs at Dryden's post. The 
young offieer nodded assent and the sergeant, 
softly cocking his rifle, went away on his hands and 
knees. The lieutenant with his back to a dwarf 
tree, sat watching the sergeant's progress for the 
few moments that he could see him moving from 
one shadow to another. Afterward, the officer 
waited to hear Dryden's quick but low-voiced 
challenge, but time passed and no sound came from 
the direction of the post behind the cactus bush. 

The sergeant, as he came nearer and nearer to 
this cactus bush a number of peculiarly dignified 


columns throwing shadows of inky darkness 
had slowed his pace, for he did not wish to trifle 
with the feelings of the sentry, and he was expect- 
ing the stern hail and was ready with the immedi- 
ate answer which turns away wrath. He was not 
made anxious by the fact that he could not yet 
see Dryden, for he knew that the man would be 
hidden in a way practised by sentry marines since 
the time when two men had been killed by a dis- 
ease of excessive confidence on picket. Indeed, 
as the sergeant went still nearer, he became more 
and more angry. Dryden was evidently a most 
proper sentry. 

Finally he arrived at a point where he could see 
Dryden seated in the shadow, staring into the 
bushes ahead of him, his rifle ready on his knee. 
The sergeant in his rage longed for the peaceful 
precincts of the Washington Marine Barracks 
where there would have been no situation to pre- 
vent the most complete non-commissioned oratory. 
He felt indecent in his capacity of a man able to 
creep up to the back of a G Company member on 
guard duty. Never mind ; in the morning back 
at camp 

But, suddenly, he felt afraid. There was some- 
thing wrong with Dryden. He remembered old 
tales of comrades creeping out to find a picket 


seated against a tree perhaps, upright enough but 
stone dead. The sergeant paused and gave the 
inscrutable back of the sentry a long stare. Du- 
bious he again moved forward. At three paces, 
he hissed like a little snake. Dryden did not 
show a sign of hearing. At last, the sergeant was 
in a position from which he was able to reach out 
and touch Dryden on the arm. Whereupon was 
turned to him the face of a man livid with mad 
fright. The sergeant grabbed him by the wrist 
and with discreet fury shook him. " Here ! Pull 
yourself together ! " 

Dryden paid no heed but turned his wild face 
from the newcomer to the ground in front. 
Don't you see 'em, sergeant ? Don't you see 'em ? " 

" Where ? " whispered the sergeant. 

" Ahead, and a little on the right flank. A 
reg'lar skirmish line. Don't you see 'em ? " 

" Naw," whispered the sergeant. Dryden be- 
gan to shake. He began moving one hand from 
his head to his knee and from his knee to his 
head rapidly, in a way that is without explanation. 
" I don't dare fire," he wept. " If I do they'll see 
me, and oh, how they'll pepper me ! " 

The sergeant lying on his belly, understood one 
thing. Dryden had gone mad. Dryden was the 
March Hare. The old man gulped down his up- 


roarious emotions as well as he was able and used 
the most simple device. " Go," he said, " and 
tell the lieutenant while I cover your post for 

" No ! They'd see me ! They'd see me ! And 
then they'd pepper me ! O, how they'd pepper 

The sergeant was face to face with the biggest 
situation of his life. In the first place he knew 
that at night a large or small force of Spanish 
guerillas was never more than easy rifle range 
from any marine outpost, both sides maintaining 
a secrecy as absolute as possible in regard to their 
real position and strength. Everything was on 
a watch-spring foundation. A loud word might 
be paid for by a night-attack which would involve 
five hundred men who needed their earned sleep, 
not to speak of some of them who would need 
their lives. The slip of a foot and the rolling of 
a pint of gravel might go from consequence to 
consequence until various crews went to general 
quarters on their ships in the harbour, their bat- 
teries booming as the swift search-light flashes 
tore through the foliage. Men would get killed 
notably the sergeant and Dryden and out- 
posts would be cut off and the whole night would 
be one pitiless turmoil. And so Sergeant George 


H. Peasley began to run his private madhouse 
behind the cactus-bush. 

" Dryden," said the sergeant, "you do as I tell 
you and go tell the lieutenant." 

" I don't dare move," shivered the man. 
"They'll see me if I move. They'll see me. 
They're almost up now. Let's hide " 

" Well, then you stay here a moment and I'll 
go and " 

Dryden turned upon him a look so tigerish that 
the old man felt his hair move. " Don't you 
stir," he hissed. " You want to give me away. 
You want them to see me. Don't you stir." The 
sergeant decided not to stir. 

He became aware of the slow wheeling of 
eternity, its majestic incomprehensibility of move- 
ment. Seconds, minutes, were quaint little 
things, tangible as toys, and there were billions of 
them, all alike. " Dryden," he whispered at the 
end of a century in which, curiously, he had 
never joined the marine corps at all but had taken 
to another walk of life and prospered greatly in 
it. " Dryden, this is all foolishness." He thought 
of the expedient of smashing the man over the 
head with his rifle, but Dryden was so superna- 
turally alert that there surely would issue some 
small scuffle and there could be not even the 


fraction of a scuffle. The sergeant relapsed into 
the contemplation of another century. 

His patient had one fine virtue. He was in 
such terror of the phantom skirmish line that his 
voice never went above a whisper, whereas his de- 
lusion might have expressed itself in hyena yells 
and shots, from his rifle. The sergeant, shudder- 
ing, had visions of how it might have been the 
mad private leaping into the air and howling and 
shooting at his friends and making them the 
centre of the enemy's eager attention. This, to 
his mind, would have been conventional conduct 
for a maniac. The trembling victim of an idea 
was somewhat puzzling. The sergeant decided 
that from time to time he would reason with his 
patient. " Look here, Dryden, you don't see 
any real Spaniards. You've been drinking or 
something. Now " 

But Dryden only glared him into silence. Dry- 
den was inspired with such a profound contempt 
of him that it was become hatred. " Don't you 
stir!" And it was clear that if the sergeant did 
stir, the mad private would introduce calamity. 
" Now," said Peasley to himself, " if those guer- 
illas should take a crack at us to-night, they'd find 
a lunatic asylum right in the front and it would 
be astonishing." 


The silence of the night was broken by the 
quick low voice of a sentry to the left some dis- 
tance. The breathless stillness brought an effect 
to the words as if they had been spoken in one's 

" Halt who s there halt or P II fire ! " Bang ! 

At the moment of sudden attack particularly at 
night, it is improbable that a man registers much 
detail of either thought or action. He may after- 
ward say : " I was here." He may say : " I was 
there." " I did this." " I did that." But there 
remains a great incoherency because of the tumult- 
uous thought which seethes through the head. 
" Is this defeat ? " At night in a wilderness and 
against skilful foes half-seen, one does not trouble 
to ask if it is also Death. Defeat is Death, then, 
save for the miraculous. But the exaggerating 
magnifying first thought subsides in the ordered 
mind of the soldier and he knows, soon, what he 
is doing and how much of it. The sergeant's im- 
mediate impulse had been to squeeze close to the 
ground and listen listen above all else, listen. 
But the next moment he grabbed his private asy- 
lum by the scruff of its neck, jerked it to its feet 
and started to retreat upon the main outpost. 

To the left, rifle-flashes were bursting from the 

shadows. To the rear, the lieutenant was giving 


some hoarse order or admonition. Through the 
air swept some Spanish bullets, very high, as if 
they had been fired at a man in a tree. The pri- 
vate asylum came on so hastily that the sergeant 
found he could remove his grip, and soon they 
were in the midst of the men of the outpost. 
Here there was no occasion for enlightening the 
lieutenant. In the first place such surprises re- 
quired statement, question and answer. It is im- 
possible to get a grossly original and fantastic 
idea through a man's head in less than one 
minute of rapid talk, and the sergeant knew 
the lieutenant could not spare the minute. He 
himself had no minutes to devote to anythingbut 
the business of the outpost. And the madman 
disappeared from his pen and he forgot about 

It was a long night and the little fight was as 
long as the night. It was a heart-breaking work. 
The forty marines lay in an irregular oval. From 
all sides, the Mauser bullets sang low and hard. 
Their occupation was to prevent a rush, and to 
this end they potted carefully at the flash of a 
Mauser save when they got excited for a moment, 
in which case their magazines rattled like a great 
Waterbury watch. Then they settled again to a 
systematic potting. 


The enemy were not of the regular Spanish 
forces. They were of a corps of guerillas, native- 
born Cubans, who preferred the flag of Spain. 
They were all men who knew the craft of the 
woods and were all recruited from the district. 
They fought more like red Indians than any peo- 
ple but the red Indians themselves. Each seemed 
to possess an individuality, a fighting individuality, 
which is only found in the highest order of irreg- 
ular soldiers. Personally they were as distinct 
as possible, but through equality of knowledge ' 
and experience, they arrived at concert of action. 
So long as they operated in the wilderness, they 
were formidable troops. It mattered little whether 
it was daylight or dark ; they were mainly invis- 
ible. They had schooled from the Cubans insur- 
gent to Spain. As the Cubans fought the Spanish 
troops, so would these particular Spanish troops 
fight the Americans. It was wisdom. 

The marines thoroughly understood the game. 
They must lie close and fight until daylight when 
the guerillas promptly would go away. They 
had withstood other nights of this kind, and now 
their principal emotion was probably a sort of 
frantic annoyance. 

Back at the main camp, whenever the roaring 
volleys lulled, the men in the trenches could hear 


their comrades of the outpost, and the guerillas 
pattering away interminably. The moonlight 
faded and left an equal darkness upon the wilder- 
ness. A man could barely see the comrade at his 
side. Sometimes guerillas crept so close that 
the flame from their rifles seemed to scorch the 
faces of the marines, and the reports sounded as 
if from two or three inches of their very noses. 
If a pause came, one could hear the guerillas gab- 
bling to each other in a kind of drunken delirium. 
The lieutenant was praying that the ammunition 
would last. Everybody was praying for daybreak. 
A black hour came finally, when the men were 
not fit to have their troubles increased. The 
enemy made a wild attack on one portion of the 
oval, which was held by about fifteen men. The 
remainder of the force was busy enough, and the 
fifteen were naturally left to their devices. Amid 
the whirl of it, a loud voice suddenly broke out in 

" When shepherds guard their flocks by night, 

All seated on the ground, 
An angel of the Lord came down 
And glory shone around." 

" Who the hell is that ? " demanded the lieu- 
tenant from a throat full of smoke. There was 
almost a full stop of the firing. The Americans 


were somewhat puzzled. Practical ones muttered 
that the fool should have a bayonet-hilt shoved 
down his throat. Others felt a thrill at the strange- 
ness of the thing. Perhaps it was a sign ! 

" The minstrel boy to the war has gone, 

In the ranks of death you'll find him, 
His father's sword he has girded on 
And his wild harp slung behind him." 

This croak was as lugubrious as a coffin. " Who 
is it ? Who is it ? " snapped the lieutenant. 
" Stop him, somebody." 

" It's Dryden, sir," said old Sergeant Peasley, as 
he felt around in the darkness for his madhouse. 
" I can't find him yet." 

" Please, O, please, O, do not let me fall ; 
You're gurgh-ugh " 

The sergeant had pounced upon him. 

This singing had had an effect upon the Span- 
iards. At first they had fired frenziedly at the 
voice, but they soon ceased, perhaps from sheer 
amazement. Both sides took a spell of meditation. 

The sergeant was having some difficulty with 
his charge. " Here, you, grab 'im. Take 'im by 
the throat. Be quiet, you devil." 

One of the fifteen men, who had been hard- 
pressed, called out, " We've only got about one 
clip a-piece, Lieutenant. If they come again " 


The lieutenant crawled to and fro among his 
men, taking clips of cartridges from those who 
had many. He came upon the sergeant and his 
madhouse. He felt Dryden's belt and found it 
simply stuffed with ammunition. He examined 
Dryden's rifle and found in it a full clip. The 
madhouse had not fired a shot. The lieutenant 
distributed these valuable prizes among the fifteen 
men. As the men gratefully took them, one said : 
" If they had come again hard enough, they would 
have had us, sir, maybe." 

But the Spaniards did not come again. At the 
first indication of daybreak, they fired their cus- 
tomary good-bye volley. The marines lay tight 
while the slow dawn crept over the land. Finally 
the lieutenant arose among them, and he was a 
bewildered man, but very angry. " Now where 
is that idiot, Sergeant ? " 

" Here he is, sir/' said the old man cheerfully. 
He was seated on the ground beside the recumbent 
Dryden who, with an innocent smile on his face, 
was sound asleep. 

" Wake him up," said the lieutenant briefly. 

The sergeant shook the sleeper. " Here, Min- 
strel Boy, turn out. The lieutenant wants you." 

Dryden climbed to his feet and saluted the 
officer with a dazed and childish air. (< Yes, sir/' 


The lieutenant was obviously having difficulty 
in governing his feelings, but he managed to say 
with calmness, " You seem to be fond of singing, 
Dryden ? Sergeant, see if he has any whisky on 

" Sir ? " said the madhouse stupefied. " Sing- 
ing fond of singing ? " 

Here the sergeant interposed gently, and he 
and the lieutenant held palaver apart from the 
others. The marines, hitching more comfortably 
their almost empty belts, spoke with grins of the 
madhouse. " Well, the Minstrel Boy made 'em 
clear out. They couldn't stand it. But I 
wouldn't want to be in his boots. He'll see fire- 
works when the old man interviews him on the 
uses of grand opera in modern warfare. How do 
you think he managed to smuggle a bottle along 
without us finding it out ? " 

When the weary outpost was relieved and 
marched back to camp, the men could not rest 
until they had told a tale of the voice in the wil- 
derness. In the meantime the sergeant took 
Dryden aboard a ship, and to those who took 
charge of the man, he defined him as " the most 

useful crazy man in he service of the 

United States." 


GATES had left the regular army in 1890, those 
parts of him which had not been frozen having 
been well fried. He took with him nothing but 
an oaken constitution and a knowledge of the 
plains and the best wishes of his fellow-officers. 
The Standard Oil Company differs from the 
United States Government in that it understands 
the value of the loyal and intelligent services of 
good men and is almost certain to reward them 
at the expense of incapable men. This curious 
practice emanates from no beneficent emotion of 
the Standard Oil Company, on whose feelings 
you could not make a scar with a hammer and 
chisel. It is simply that the Standard Oil Com- 
pany knows more than the United States Govern- 
ment and makes use of virtue whenever virtue is 
to its advantage. In 1890 Gates really felt in his 
bones that, if he lived a rigorously correct life 
and several score of his class-mates and intimate 
friends died off, he would get command of a troop 


of horse by the time he was unfitted by age to be 
an active cavalry leader. He left the service of 
the United States and entered the service of the 
Standard Oil Company. In the course of time he 
knew that, if he lived a rigorously correct life, his 
position and income would develop strictly in 
parallel with the worth of his wisdom and experi- 
ence, and he would not have to walk on the corpses 
of his friends. 

But he was not happier. Part of his heart was 
in a barracks, and it was not enough to discourse 
of the old regiment over the port and cigars to 
ears which were polite enough to betray a languid 
ignorance. Finally came the year 1898, and Gates 
dropped the Standard Oil Company as if it were 
hot. He hit the steel trail to Washington and 
there fought the first serious action of the war. 
Like most Americans, he had a native State, and 
one morning he found himself major in a volun- 
teer infantry regiment whose voice had a peculiar 
sharp twang to it which he could remember from 
childhood. The colonel welcomed the West 
Pointer with loud cries of joy ; the lieutenant- 
colonel looked at him with the pebbly eye of dis- 
trust ; and the senior major, having had up to 
this time the best battalion in the regiment, 
strongly disapproved of him. There were only 


two majors, so the lieutenant-colonel commanded 
the first battalion, which gave him an occupation. 
Lieutenant-colonels under the new rules do not 
always have occupations. Gates got the third 
battalion four companies commanded by intelli- 
gent officers who could gauge the opinions of 
their men at two thousand yards and govern 
themselves accordingly. The battalion was im- 
mensely interested in the new major. It thought 
it ought to develop views about him. It thought 
it was its blankety-blank business to find out im- 
mediately if it liked him personally. In the com- 
pany streets the talk was nothing else. Among 
the non-commissioned officers there were eleven 
old soldiers of the regular army, and they knew 
and cared that Gates had held commission in the 
" Sixteenth Cavalry " as Harper s Weekly says. 
Over this fact they rejoiced and were glad, and 
they stood by to jump lively when he took com- 
mand. He would know his work and he would 
know-/to> work, and then in battle there would 
be killed only what men were absolutely neces- 
sary and the sick list would be comparatively free 
of fools. 

The commander of the second battalion had 
been called by an Atlanta paper, " Major Rickets 
C. Carmony, the commander of the second battal- 


ion of the 3O7th , is when at home one of the 

biggest wholesale hardware dealers in his State. 
Last evening he had ice-cream, at his own ex- 
pense, served out at the regular mess of the bat- 
talion, and after dinner the men gathered about 
his tent where three hearty cheers for the popular 
major were given." Carmony had bought twelve 
copies of this newspaper and mailed them home 
to his friends. 

In Gates's battalion there were more kicks than 
ice-cream, and there was no ice-cream at all. In- 
dignation ran high at the rapid manner in which 
he proceeded to make soldiers of them. Some of 
his officers hinted finally that the men wouldn't 
stand it. They were saying that they had en- 
listed to fight for their country yes, but they 
weren't going to be bullied day in and day out 
by a perfect stranger. They were patriots, they 
were, and just as good men as ever stepped just 
as good as Gates or anybody like him. But, grad- 
ually, despite itself, the battalion progressed. The 
men were not altogether conscious of it. They 
evolved rather blindly. Presently there were 
fights with Carmony's crowd as to which was the 
better battalion at drills, and at last there was no 
argument. It was generally admitted that Gates 
commanded the crack battalion. The men, 


believing that the beginning and the end of all 
soldiering was in these drills of precision, were 
somewhat reconciled to their major when they 
began to understand more of what he was trying 
to do for them, but they were still fiery untamed 
patriots of lofty pride and they resented his man- 
ner toward them. It was abrupt and sharp. 

The time came when everybody knew that the 
Fifth Army Corps was the corps designated for 
the first active service in Cuba. The officers and 
men of the 3O7th observed with despair that their 
regiment was not in the Fifth Army Corps. The 
colonel was a strategist. He understood every- 
thing in a flash. Without a moment's hesitation 
he obtained leave and mounted the night express 
for Washington. There he drove Senators and 
Congressmen in span, tandem and four-in-hand. 
With the telegraph he stirred so deeply the gov- 
ernor, the people and the newspapers of his State 
that whenever on a quiet night the President put 
his head out of the White House he could hear the 
distant vast commonwealth humming with indig- 
nation. And as it is well known that the Chief 
Executive listens to the voice of the people, the 
307th was transferred to the Fifth Army Corps. 
It was sent at once to Tampa, where it was bri- 
gaded with two dusty regiments of regulars, who 


looked at it calmly and said nothing. The bri- 
gade commander happened to be no less a person 
than Gates's old colonel in the " Sixteenth Cav- 
alry " as Harper s Weekly says and Gates was 
cheered. The old man's rather solemn look 
brightened when he saw Gates in the 3<D7th. 
There was a great deal of battering and pounding 
and banging for the 3O7th at Tampa, but the men 
stood it more in wonder than in anger. The two 
regular regiments carried them along when they 
could, and when they couldn't waited impatiently 
for them to come up. Undoubtedly the regulars 
wished the volunteers were in garrison at Sitka, 
but they said practically nothing. They minded 
their own regiments. The colonel was an invalu- 
able man in a telegraph office. When came the 
scramble for transports the colonel retired to a 
telegraph office and talked so ably to Washington 
that the authorities pushed a number of corps 
aside and made way for the 3O/th, as if on it de- 
pended everything. The regiment got one of the 
best transports, and after a series of delays and 
some starts, and an equal number of returns, they 
finally sailed for Cuba. 



Now Gates had a singular adventure on the 
second morning after his arrival at Atlanta to take 
his post as a major in the 3O7th. 

He was in his tent, writing, when suddenly the 
flap was flung away and a tall young private 
stepped inside. 

" Well, Maje," said the newcomer, genially, 
"how goes it?" 

The major's head flashed up, but he spoke 
without heat. 

" Come to attention and salute." 

" Huh ! " said the private. 

" Come to attention and salute." 

The private looked at him in resentful amaze- 
ment, and then inquired : 

" Ye ain't mad, are ye ? Ain't nothin* to get 
huffy about, is there ? " 

" I Come to attention and salute." 

" Well," drawled the private, as he stared, 
" seein' as ye are so darn perticular, I don't care 
if I do if it'll make yer meals set on yer stomick 
any better." 

Drawing a long breath and grinning ironically, 
he lazily pulled his heels together and saluted 
with a flourish. 


" There," he said, with a return to his earlier 
genial manner. " How's that suit ye, Maje ? " 

There was a silence which to an impartial ob- 
server would have seemed pregnant with dynamite 
and bloody death. Then the major cleared his 
throat and coldly said : 

"And now, what is your business?" 

" Who me?" asked the private. " Oh, I just 
sorter dropped in." With a deeper meaning he 
added: "Sorter dropped in in a friendly way, 
thinkin' ye was mebbe a different kind of a feller 
from what ye be." 

The inference was clearly marked. 

It was now Gates's turn to stare, and stare he 
unfeignedly did. 

" Go back to your quarters," he said at length. 

The volunteer became very angry. 

" Oh, ye needn't be so up-in-th'-air, need ye ? 
Don't know's I'm dead anxious to inflict my com- 
pany on yer since I've had a good look at ye. 
There may be men in this here battalion what's 
had just as much edjewcation as you have, and 
I'm damned if they ain't got better manners. 
Good-mornin'," he said, with dignity ; and, pass- 
ing out of the tent, he flung the flap back in place 
with an air of slamming it as if it had been a door. 
He made his way back to his company street, 


striding high. He was furious. He met a large 
crowd of his comrades. 

" What's the matter, Lige ? " asked one, who 
noted his temper. 

" Oh, nothin'," answered Lige, with terrible 
feeling. " Nothin'. I jest been lookin' over the 
new major that's all." 

" What's he like ? " asked another. 

" Like ? " cried Lige. " He's like nothin'. He 
ain't out'n the same kittle as us. No. Gawd 
made him all by himself sep'rate. He's a speshul 
produc', he is, an' he won't have no truck with 
jest common men, like you be." 

He made a venomous gesture which included 
them all. 

" Did he set on ye ? " asked a soldier. 

" Set on me ? No," replied Lige, with contempt. 
" I set on him. I sized 'im up in a minute. ' Oh, 
I don't know,' I says, as I was comin' out ; ' guess 
you ain't the only man in the world,' I says." 

For a time Lige Wigram was quite a hero. He 
endlessly repeated the tale of his adventure, and 
men admired him for so soon taking the conceit 
out of the new officer. Lige was proud to think 
of himself as a plain and simple patriot who had 
refused to endure any high-soaring nonsense. 

But he came to believe that he had not dis- 


turbed the singular composure of the major, and 
this concreted his hatred. He hated Gates, not 
as a soldier sometimes hates an officer, a hatred 
half of fear. Lige hated as man to man. And 
he was enraged to see that so far from gaining 
any hatred in return, he seemed incapable of mak- 
ing Gates have any thought of him save as a unit 
in a body of three hundred men. Lige might just 
as well have gone and grimaced at the obelisk in 
Central Park. 

When the battalion became the best in the regi- 
ment he had no part in the pride of the companies. 
He was sorry when men began to speak well of 
Gates. He was really a very consistent hater. 


The transport occupied by the 3O/th was com- 
manded by some sort of a Scandinavian, who was 
afraid of the shadows of his own topmasts. He 
would have run his steamer away from a floating 
Gainsborough hat, and, in fact, he ran her away 
from less on some occasions. The officers, wish- 
ing to arrive with the other transports, sometimes 
remonstrated, and to them he talked of his owners. 

Every officer in the convoying warships loathed 


him, for in case any hostile vessel should appear 
they did not see how they were going to protect 
this rabbit, who would probably manage during a 
fight to be in about a hundred places on the broad, 
broad sea, and all of them offensive to the navy's 
plan. When he was not talking of his owners he 
was remarking to the officers of the regiment 
that a steamer really was not like a valise, and 
that he was unable to take his ship under his arm 
and climb trees with it. He further said that 
" them naval fellows " were not near so smart as 
they thought they were. 

From an indigo sea arose the lonely shore of 
Cuba. Ultimately, the fleet was near Santiago, 
and most of the transports were bidden to wait a 
minute while the leaders found out their minds. 
The skipper, to whom the So/th were prisoners, 
waited for thirty hours half way between Jamaica 
and Cuba. He explained that the Spanish fleet 
might emerge from Santiago Harbour at any time, 
and he did not propose to be caught. His 

owners Whereupon the colonel arose as one 

having nine hundred men at his back, and he 
passed up to the bridge and he spake with the 
captain. He explained indirectly that each in- 
dividual of his nine hundred men had decided to 
be the first American soldier to land for this cam- 


paign, and that in order to accomplish the marvel 
it was necessary for the transport to be nearer 
than forty-five miles from the Cuban coast. If 
the skipper would only land the regiment the 
colonel would consent to his then taking his in- 
teresting old ship and going to h with it. 

And the skipper spake with the colonel. He 
pointed out that as far as he officially was con- 
cerned, the United States Government did not 
exist. He was responsible solely to his owners. 
The colonel pondered these sayings. He per- 
ceived that the skipper meant that he was running 
his ship as he deemed best, in consideration of 
the capital invested by his owners, and that he 
was not at all concerned with the feelings of a 
certain American military expedition to Cuba. 
He was a free son of the sea he was a sovereign 
citizen of the republic of the waves. He was like 

However, the skipper ultimately incurred the 
danger of taking his ship under the terrible guns 
of the New York, lowa^ Oregon, Massachusetts, 
Indiana, Brooklyn, Texas and a score of cruisers 
and gunboats. It was a brave act for the captain 
of a United States transport, and he was visibly 
nervous until he could again get to sea, where he 
offered praises that the accursed 3O/th was no 


longer sitting on his head. For almost a week 
he rambled at his cheerful will over the adjacent 
high seas, having in his hold a great quantity of 
military stores as successfully secreted as if they 
had been buried in a copper box in the corner- 
stone of a new public building in Boston. He 
had had his master's certificate for twenty-one 
years, and those people couldn't tell a marlin-spike 
from the starboard side of the ship. 

The 3O/th was landed in Cuba, but to their 
disgust they found that about ten thousand 
regulars were ahead of them. They got imme- 
diate orders to move out from the base on the 
road to Santiago. Gates was interested to note 
that the only delay was caused by the fact that 
many men of the other battalions strayed off 
sight-seeing. In time the long regiment wound 
slowly among hills that shut them from sight of 
the sea. 

For the men to admire, there were palm-trees, 
little brown huts, passive, uninterested Cuban 
soldiers much worn from carrying American ra- 
tions inside and outside. The weather was not 
oppressively warm, and the journey was said to 
be only about seven miles. There were no ru* 
mours save that there had been one short fight and 
the army had advanced to within sight of San- 


tiago. Having a peculiar faculty for the derision 
of the romantic, the 3O/th began to laugh. Act- 
ually there was not anything in the world which 
turned out to be as books descrjbe it. Here they 
had landed from the transport expecting to be at 
once flung into line of battle and sent on some 
kind of furious charge, and now they were trudg- 
ing along a quiet trail lined with somnolent trees 
and grass. The whole business so far struck them 
as being a highly tedious burlesque. 

After a time they came to where the camps of 
regular regiments marked the sides of the road 
little villages of tents no higher than a man's 
waist. The colonel found his brigade commander 
and the 3O7th was sent off into a field of long 
grass, where the men grew suddenly solemn with 
the importance of getting their supper. 

In the early evening some regulars told one of 
Gates's companies that at daybreak this division 
would move to an attack upon something. 

"How d' you know?" said the company, 
deeply awed. 

" Heard it." 

" Well, what are we to attack?" 

" Dunno." 

The 3O/th was not at all afraid, but each man be- 
gan to imagine the morrow. The regulars seemed 


to have as much interest in the morrow as they 
did in the last Christmas. It was none of their 
affair, apparently. 

" Look here," said Lige Wigram, to a man in 
the I /th Regular Infantry, " whereabouts are we 
goin' ter-morrow an* who do we run up against 
do ye know ? " 

The 1 7th soldier replied, truculently: "If I 
ketch th' - - what stole my terbaccer, 

I'll whirl in an' break every bone in his 


Gates's friends in the regular regiments asked 
him numerous questions as to the reliability of 
his organisation. Would the 3O7th stand the 
racket ? They were certainly not contemptuous ; 
they simply did not seem to consider it important 
whether the 3O7th would or whether it would not. 

" Well," said Gates, " they won't run the length 
of a tent-peg if they can gain any idea of what 
they're righting ; they won't bunch if they've 
about six acres of open ground to move in ; they 
won't get rattled at all if they see you fellows 
taking it easy, and they'll fight like the devil as 
long as they thoroughly, completely, absolutely, 
satisfactorily, exhaustively understand what the 
business is. They're lawyers. All excepting my 



Lige awakened into a world obscured by blue 
fog. Somebody was gently shaking him. " Git 
up; we're going to move." The regiment was 
buckling up itself. From the trail came the loud 
creak of a light battery moving ahead. The tones 
of all men were low ; the faces of the officers were 
composed, serious. The regiment found itself 
moving along behind the battery before it had 
time to ask itself more than a hundred questions. 
The trail wound through a dense tall jungle, dark, 
heavy with dew. 

The battle broke with a snap far ahead. Pres- 
ently Lige heard from the air above him a faint 
low note as if somebody were blowing softly in 
the mouth of a bottle. It was a stray bullet 
which had wandered a mile to tell him that war 
was before him. He nearly broke his neck look- 
ing upward. " Did ye hear that ? " But the men 
were fretting to get out of this gloomy jungle. 
They wanted to see something. The faint rup- 
rup-rrrrup-rup on in the front told them that the 
fight had begun ; death was abroad, and so the 
mystery of this wilderness excited them. This 
wilderness was portentously still and dark. 


They passed the battery aligned on a hill above 
the trail, and they had not gone far when the 
gruff guns began to roar and they could hear the 
rocket-like swish of the flying shells. Presently 
everybody must have called out for the assistance 
of the 3O/th. Aides and couriers came flying back 
to them. 

" Is this the 3O/th ? Hurry up your men, please, 
Colonel. You're needed more every minute." 

Oh, they were, were they ? Then the regulars 
were not going to do all the fighting ? The old 
3O7th was bitterly proud or proudly bitter. They 
left their blanket rolls under the guard of God 
and pushed on, which is one of the reasons why 
the Cubans of that part of the country were, later, 
so well equipped. There began to appear fields, 
hot, golden-green in the sun. On some palm- 
dotted knolls before them they could see little 
lines of black dots the American advance. A 
few men fell, struck down by other men who, 
perhaps half a mile away, were aiming at some- 
body else. The loss was wholly in Carmony's 
battalion, which immediately bunched and backed 
away, coming with a shock against Gates's advance 
company. This shock sent a tremor through all 
of Gates's battalion until men in the very last files 
cried out nervously, " Well, what in hell is up 


now ? " There came an order to deploy and ad. 
vance. An occasional hoarse yell from the reg- 
ulars could be heard. The deploying made Gates's 
heart bleed for the colonel. The old man stood 
there directing the movement, straight, fearless, 
sombrely defiant of everything. Carmony's four 
companies were like four herds. And all the time 
the bullets from no living man knows where kept 
pecking at them and pecking at them. Gates, 
the excellent Gates, the highly educated and 
strictly military Gates, grew rankly insubordinate. 
He knew that the regiment was suffering from 
nothing but the deadly range and oversweep of 
the modern rifle, of which many proud and con- 
fident nations know nothing save that they have 
killed savages with it, which is the least of all in- 

Gates rushed upon Carmony. 

" it, man, if you can't get your people 

to deploy, for sake give me a chance ! I'm 

stuck in the woods ! " 

Carmony gave nothing, but Gates took all he 
could get and his battalion deployed and advanced 
like men. The old colonel almost burst into 
tears, and he cast one quick glance of gratitude at 
Gates, which the younger officer wore on his heart 
like a secret decoration. 


There was a wild scramble up hill, down dale, 
through thorny thickets. Death smote them with 
a kind of slow rhythm, leisurely taking a man now 
here, now there, but the cat-spit sound of the 
bullets was always. A large number of the men 
of Carmony's battalion came on with Gates. They 
were willing to do anything, anything. They had 
no real fault, unless it was that early conclusion 
that any brave high-minded youth was necessarily 
a good soldier immediately, from the beginning. 
In them had been born a swift feeling that the 
unpopular Gates knew everything, and they fol- 
lowed the trained soldier. 

If they followed him, he certainly took them 
into it. As they swung heavily up one steep hill, 
like so many wind-blown horses, they came sud- 
denly out into the real advance. Little blue 
groups of men were making frantic rushes forward 
and then flopping down on their bellies to fire 
volleys while other groups made rushes. Ahead 
they could see a heavy house-like fort which was 
inadequate to explain from whence came the 
myriad bullets. The remainder of the scene was 
landscape. Pale men, yellow men, blue men 
came 6ut of this landscape quiet and sad-eyed 
with wounds. Often they were grimly facetious. 
There is nothing in the American regulars so 


amazing as his conduct when he is wounded his 
apologetic limp, his deprecatory arm-sling, his em- 
barrassed and ashamed shot-hole through the 
lungs. The men of the 3<D7th looked at calm 
creatures who had divers punctures and they were 
made better. These men told them that it was 
only necessary to keep a-going. They of the 3<D7th 
lay on their bellies, red, sweating and panting, and 
heeded the voice of the elder brother. 

Gates walked back of his line, very white of 
face, but hard and stern past anything his men 
knew of him. After they had violently adjured 
him to lie down and he had given weak backs a 
cold, stiff touch, the 3O/th charged by rushes. The 
hatless colonel made frenzied speech, but the man 
of the time was Gates. The men seemed to feel 
that this was his business. Some of the regular 
officers said afterward that the advance of the 
3O7th was very respectable indeed. They were 
rather surprised, they said. At least five of the 
crack regiments of the regular army were in this 
division, and the 30/th could win no more than a 
feeling of kindly appreciation. 

Yes, it was very good, very good indeed, but 
did you notice what was being done at the same 
moment by the I2th, the 1 7th, the 7th, the 8th, 
the 25th, the 


Gates felt that his charge was being a success. 
He was carrying out a successful function. Two 
captains fell bang on the grass and a lieutenant 
slumped quietly down with a death wound. Many 
men sprawled suddenly. Gates was keeping his 
men almost even with the regulars, who were 
charging on his flanks. Suddenly he thought 
that he must have come close to the fort and that 
a Spaniard had tumbled a great stone block down 
upon his leg. Twelve hands reached out to help 
him, but he cried : 

" No d your souls go on go on ! " 

He closed his eyes for a moment, and it really 
was only for a moment. When he opened them 
he found himself alone with Lige Wigram, who 
lay on the ground near him. 

" Maje," said Lige, " yer a good man. I've 
been a-follerin' ye all day an' I want to say yer a 
good man." 

The major turned a coldly scornful eye upon 
the private. 

" Where are you wounded ? Can you walk ? 
Well, if you can, go to the rear and leave me 
alone. I'm bleeding to death, and you bother 

Lige, despite the pain in his wounded shoulder, 
grew indignant. 


" Well," he mumbled, " you and me have been 
on th' outs fer a long time, an* I only wanted to 
tell ye that what I seen of ye t'day has made me 
feel mighty different." 

" Go to the rear if you can walk," said the 

" Now, Maje, look here. A little thing like 
that " 

" Go to the rear." 

Lige gulped with sobs. 

" Maje, I know I didn't understand ye at first, 
but ruther'n let a little thing like that come be- 
tween us, I'd I'd " 

" Go to the rear." 

In this reiteration Lige discovered a resem- 
blance to that first old offensive phrase, " Come 
to attention and salute." He pondered over the 
resemblance and he saw that nothing had changed. 
The man bleeding to death was the same man to 
whom he had once paid a friendly visit with un- 
friendly results. He thought now that he per- 
ceived a certain hopeless gulf, a gulf which is real 
or unreal, according to circumstances. Some- 
times all men are equal ; occasionally they are 
not. If Gates had ever criticised Lige's manipu- 
lation of a hay fork on the farm at home, Lige 
would have furiously disdained his hate or blame. 


He saw now that he must not openly approve the 
major's conduct in war. The major's pride was 
in his business, and his, Lige's congratulations, 
were beyond all enduring. 

The place where they were lying suddenly fell 
under a new heavy rain of bullets. They sput- 
tered about the men, making the noise of large 

" Major ! " cried Lige. " Major Gates ! It 
won't do for ye to be left here, sir. Ye'll be 

" But you can't help it, lad. You take care of 

" I'm damned if I do," said the private, vehe- 
mently. " If I can't git you out, I'll stay and 

The officer gazed at his man with that same icy, 
contemptuous gaze. 

" I'm I'm a dead man anyhow. You go to 
the rear, do you hear? " 

" No." 

The dying major drew his revolver, cocked it 
and aimed it unsteadily at Lige's head. 

" Will you obey orders ? " 

" No." 




" Two ? " 

" No." 

Gates weakly dropped his revolver. 

4< Go to the devil, then. You're no soldier, but 

" He tried to add something, " But 

He heaved a long moan. " But you you 

oh, I'm so-o-o tired." 

After the battle, three correspondents happened 
to meet on the trail. They were hot, dusty, 
weary, hungry and thirsty, and they repaired to 
the shade of a mango tree and sprawled luxu- 
riously. Among them they mustered twoscore 
friends who on that day had gone to the far shore 
of the hereafter, but their senses were no longer 
resonant. Shackles was babbling plaintively about 
mint-juleps, and the others were bidding him to 
have done. 

" By-the-way," said one, at last, " it's too bad 
about poor old Gates of the 3O7th. He bled to 
death. His men were crazy. They were blub- 
bering and cursing around there like wild people. 
It seems that when they got back there to look 


for him they found him just about gone, and an- 
other wounded man was trying to stop the flow 
with his hat ! His hat, mind you. Poor old 
Gatesie ! " 

" Oh, no, Shackles ! " said the third man of the 
party. " Oh, no, you're wrong. The best mint- 
juleps in the world are made right in New York, 
Philadelphia or Boston. That Kentucky idea is 
only a tradition." 

A wounded man approached them. He had 
been shot through the shoulder and his shirt had 
been diagonally cut away, leaving much bare skin. 
Over the bullet's point of entry there was a kind 
of a white spider, shaped from pieces of adhesive 
plaster. Over the point of departure there was a 
bloody bulb of cotton strapped to the flesh by 
other pieces of adhesive plaster. His eyes were 
dreamy, wistful, sad. " Say, gents, have any of 
ye got a bottle ? " he asked. 

A correspondent raised himself suddenly and 
looked with bright eyes at the soldier. 

'! Well, you have got a nerve," he said grin- 
ning. " Have we got a bottle, eh ! Who in 

h do you think we are ? If we had a bottle of 

good licker, do you suppose we could let the 
whole army drink out of it ? You have too much 
faith in the generosity of men, my friend ! " 


The soldier stared, ox-like, and finally said, 

" I say," continued the correspondent, some- 
what more loudly, " that if we had had a bottle 
we would have probably finished it ourselves by 
this time." 

" But," said the other, dazed, " I meant an 
empty bottle. I didn't mean no full bottle." 

The correspondent was humorously irascible. 

u An empty bottle ! You must be crazy ! 
Who ever heard of a man looking for an empty 
bottle? It isn't sense ! I've seen a million men 
looking for full bottles, but you're the first man 
I ever saw who insisted on the bottle's being 
empty. What in the world do you want it for ? " 

"Well, ye see, mister," explained Lige, slowly, 
" our major he was killed this mornin' an' we're 
jes' goin' to bury him, an' I thought I'd jest take 
a look 'round an' see if I couldn't borry an empty 
bottle, an' then I'd take an' write his name an' 
reg'ment on a paper an' put it in th* bottle an' 
bury it with him, so's when they come fer to dig 
him up sometime an' take him home, there sure 
wouldn't be no mistake." 

" Oh ! " 



THEY were four Guantanamo marines, officially 
known for the time as signalmen, and it was their 
duty to lie in the trenches of Camp McCalla, that 
faced the water, and, by day, signal the Marble- 
head with a flag and, by night, signal the Marble- 
head with lanterns. It was my good fortune at 
that time I considered it my bad fortune, indeed 
to be with them on two of the nights when a 
wild storm of fighting was pealing about the hill ; 
and, of all the actions of the war, none were so 
hard on the nerves, none strained courage so near 
the panic point, as those swift nights in Camp 
McCalla. With a thousand rifles rattling ; with 
the field-guns booming in your ears ; with the 
diabolic Colt automatics clacking ; with the roar 
of the Marblehead coming from the bay, and, last, 
with Mauser bullets sneering always in the air a 
few inches over one's head, and with this endur- 
ing from dusk to dawn, it is extremely doubtful 
if any one who was there will be able to forget it 
easily. The noise ; the impenetrable darkness ; 


the knowledge from the sound of the bullets that 
the enemy was on three sides of the camp ; the 
infrequent bloody stumbling and death of some 
man with whom, perhaps, one had messed two 
hours previous ; the weariness of the body, and 
the more terrible weariness of the mind, at the 
endlessness of the thing, made it wonderful that 
at least some of the men did not come out of it 
with their nerves hopelessly in shreds. 

But, as this interesting ceremony proceeded in 
the darkness, it was necessary for the signal squad 
to coolly take and send messages. Captain Mc- 
Calla always participated in the defence of the 
camp by raking the woods on two of its sides with 
the guns of the Marblehead. Moreover, he was 
the senior officer present, and he wanted to know 
what was happening. All night long the crews 
of the ships in the bay would stare sleeplessly into 
the blackness toward the roaring hill. 

The signal squad had an old cracker-box placed 
on top of the trench. When not signalling they 
hid the lanterns in this- box ; but as soon as an 
order to send a message was received, it became 
necessary for one of the men to stand up and ex- 
pose the lights. And then oh, my eye how the 
guerillas hidden in the gulf of night would turn 
loose at those yellow gleams ! 


Signalling in this way is done by letting one 
lantern remain stationary on top of the cracker- 
box, in this case and moving the other over to 
the left and right and so on in the regular gestures 
of the wig-wagging code. It is a very simple 
system of night communication, but one can see 
that it presents rare possibilities when used in 
front of an enemy who, a few hundred yards away, 
is overjoyed at sighting so definite a mark. 

How, in the name of wonders, those four men 
at Camp McCalla were not riddled from head to 
foot and sent home more as repositories of Span- 
ish ammunition than as marines is beyond all com- 
prehension. To make a confession when one of 
these men stood up to wave his lantern, I, lying 
in the trench, invariably rolled a little to the right 
or left, in order that, when he was shot, he would 
not fall on me. But the squad came off scathless, 
despite the best efforts of the most formidable 
corps in the Spanish army the Escuadra de 
Guantanamo. That it was the most formidable 
corps in the Spanish army of occupation has been 
told me by many Spanish officers and also by 
General Menocal and other insurgent officers. 
General Menocal was Garcia's chief-of-staff when 
the latter was operating busily in Santiago prov- 
ince. The regiment was composed solely viprac- 


ticos t or guides, who knew every shrub and tree 
on the ground over which they moved. 

Whenever the adjutant, Lieutenant Draper, 
came plunging along through the darkness with 
an order such as : " Ask the Marblehead to 
please shell the woods to the left " my heart 
would come into my mouth, for I knew then 
that one of my pals was going to stand up be- 
hind the lanterns and have all Spain shoot at 

The answer was always upon the instant : 

"Yes, sir." Then the bullets began to snap, 
snap, snap, at his head while all the woods began to 
crackle like burning straw. I could lie near and 
watch the face of the signalman, illumed as it was 
by the yellow shine of lantern light, and the ab- 
sence of excitement, fright, or any emotion at all 
on his countenance, was something to astonish all 
theories out of one's mind. The face was in every 
instance merely that of a man intent upon his 
business, the business of wig-wagging into the 
gulf of night where a light on the Marblehead 
was seen to move slowly. 

These times on the hill resembled, in some 
days, those terrible scenes on the stage scenes of 
intense gloom, blinding lightning, with a cloaked 
devil or assassin or other appropriate character 


muttering deeply amid the awful roll of the thun- 
der-drums. It was theatric beyond words : one 
felt like a leaf in this booming chaos, this pro- 
longed tragedy of the night. Amid it all one 
could see from time to time the yellow light on 
the face of a preoccupied signalman. 

Possibly no man who was there ever before un- 
derstood the true eloquence of the breaking of 
the day. We would lie staring into the east, fair- 
ly ravenous for the dawn. Utterly worn to rags, 
with our nerves standing on end like so many 
bristles, we lay and watched the east the un- 
speakably obdurate and slow east. It was a won- 
der that the eyes of some of us did not turn to 
glass balls from the fixity of our gaze. 

Then there would come into the sky a patch 
of* faint blue light. It was like a piece of moon- 
shine. Some would say it was the beginning of 
daybreak ; others would declare it was nothing of 
the kind. Men would get very disgusted with 
each other in these low-toned arguments held in 
the trenches. For my part, this development in 
the eastern sky destroyed many of my ideas and 
theories concerning the dawning of the day ; but 
then I had never before had occasion to give it 
such solemn attention. 

This patch widened and whitened in about the 



speed of a man's accomplishment if he should be 
in the way of painting Madison Square Garden 
with a camel's hair brush. The guerillas always set 
out to whoop it up about this time, because they 
knew the occasion was approaching when it would 
be expedient for them to elope. I, at least, al- 
ways grew furious with this wretched sunrise. I 
thought I could have walked around the world 
in the time required for the old thing to get up 
above the horizon. 

One midnight, when an important message was 
to be sent to the Marblehead, Colonel Hunting- 
ton came himself to the signal place with Adju- 
dant Draper and Captain McCauley, the quarter- 
master. When the man stood up to signal, the 
colonel stood beside him. At sight of the lights, 
the Spaniards performed as usual. They drove 
enough bullets into that immediate vicinity to kill 
all the marines in the corps. 

Lieutenant Draper was agitated for his chief. 
"Colonel, won't you step down, sir?" 

" Why, I guess not," said the grey old veteran 
in his slow, sad, always-gentle way. " I am in no 
more danger than the man." 

" But, sir " began the adjutant. 

" Oh, it's all right, Draper." 

So the colonel and the private stood side to side 


and took the heavy fire without either moving a 

Day was always obliged to come at last, punc- 
tuated by a final exchange of scattering shots. 
And the light shone on the marines, the dumb 
guns, the flag. Grimy yellow face looked into 
grimy yellow face, and grinned with weary satis- 
faction. Coffee ! 

Usually it was impossible for many of the men 
to sleep at once. It always took me, for in- 
stance, some hours to get my nerves combed down. 
But then it was great joy to lie in the trench with 
the four signalmen, and understand thoroughly 
that that night was fully over at last, and that, 
although the future might have in store other 
bad nights, that one could never escape from the 
prison-house which we call the past. 

At the wild little fight at Cusco there were 
some splendid exhibitions of wig-wagging under 
fire. Action began when an advanced detach- 
ment of marines under Lieutenant Lucas with the 
Cuban guides had reached the summit of a ridge 
overlooking a small valley where there was a 
house, a well, and a thicket of some kind of shrub 
with great broad, oily leaves. This thicket, 
which was perhaps an acre in extent, contained 


the guerillas. The valley was open to the sea 
The distance from the top of the ridge to the 
thicket was barely two hundred yards. 

The Dolphin had sailed up the coast in line 
with the marine advance, ready with her guns to 
assist in any action. Captain Elliott, who com- 
manded the two hundred marines in this fight, 
suddenly called out for a signalman. He wanted 
a man to tell the Dolphin to open fire on the 
house and the thicket. It was a blazing, bitter 
hot day on top of the ridge with its shrivelled 
chaparral and its straight, tall cactus plants. The 
sky was bare and blue, and hurt like brass. In 
two minutes the prostrate marines were red and 
sweating like so many hull-buried stokers in the 

Captain Elliott called out : 

" Where's a signalman ? Who's a signalman 
here ? " 

A red-headed " mick " I think his name was 
Clancy at any rate, it will do to call him Clancy 
twisted his head from where he lay on his 
stomach pumping his Lee, and, saluting, said that 
he was a signalman. 

There was no regulation flag with the expedi- 
tion, so Clancy was obliged to tie his blue polka- 
dot neckerchief on the end of his rifle. It did not 


make a very good flag. At first Clancy moved a 
ways down the safe side of the ridge and wig- 
wagged there very busily. But what with the flag 
being so poor for the purpose, and the background 
of ridge being so dark, those on the Dolphin did 
not see it. So Clancy had to return to the top of 
the ridge and outline himself and his flag against 
the sky. 

The usual thing happened. As soon as the 
Spaniards caught sight of this silhouette, they let 
go like mad at it. To make things more comfort- 
able for Clancy, the situation demanded that he 
face the sea and turn his back to the Spanish 
bullets. This was a hard game, mark you to 
stand with the small of your back to volley firing. 
Clancy thought so. Everybody thought so. We 
all cleared out of his neighbourhood. If he wanted 
sole possession of any particular spot on that hill, 
he could have it for all we would interfere with 

It cannot be denied that Clancy was in a hurry. 
I watched him. He was so occupied with the 
bullets that snarled close to his ears that he was 
obliged to repeat the letters of his message softly 
to himself. It seemed an intolerable time before 
the Dolphin answered the little signal. Mean- 
while, we gazed at him, marvelling every second 


that he had not yet pitched headlong. He swore 
at times. 

Finally the Dolphin replied to his frantic ges- 
ticulation, and he delivered his message. As his 
part of the transaction was quite finished whoop ! 
he dropped like a brick into the firing line and 
began to shoot ; began to get " hunky " with all 
those people who had been plugging at him. 
The blue polka-dot neckerchief still fluttered from 
the barrel of his rifle. I am quite certain that he 
let it remain there until the end of the fight. 

The shells of the Dolphin began to plough up the 
thicket, kicking the bushes, stones, and soil into 
the air as if somebody was blasting there. 

Meanwhile, this force of two hundred marines 
and fifty Cubans and the force of probably six 
companies of Spanish guerillas were making such 
an awful din that the distant Camp McCalla was 
all alive with excitement. Colonel Huntington 
sent out strong parties to critical points on the 
road to facilitate, if necessary, a safe retreat, and 
also sent forty men under Lieutenant Magill to 
come up on the left flank of the two companies 
in action under Captain Elliott. Lieutenant Magill 
and his men had crowned a hill which covered en- 
tirely the flank of the fighting companies, but 
when the Dolphin opened fire, it happened that 


Magill was in the line of the shots. It became 
necessary to stop the Dolphin at once. Captain 
Elliott was not near Clancy at this time, and he 
called hurriedly for another signalman. 

Sergeant Quick arose, and announced that he 
was a signalman. He produced from somewhere 
a blue polka-dot neckerchief as large as a quilt. 
He tied it on a long, crooked stick. Then he 
went to the top of the ridge, and turning his back 
to the Spanish fire, began to signal to the 
Dolphin. Again we gave a man sole possession 
of a particular part of the ridge. We didn't want 
it. He could have it arid welcome. If the young 
sergeant had had the smallpox, the cholera, and 
the yellow fever, we could not have slid out with 
more celerity. 

As men have said often, it seemed as if there 
was in this war a God of Battles who held His 
mighty hand before the Americans. As I looked 
at Sergeant Quick wig-wagging there against the 
sky, I would not have given a tin tobacco-tag for 
his life. Escape for him seemed impossible. It 
seemed absurd to hope that he would not be hit ; 
I only hoped that he would be hit just a little, 
little, in the arm, the shoulder, or the leg. 

I watched his face, and it was as grave and 
serene as that of a man writing in his own library. 


He was the very embodiment of tranquillity in 
occupation. He stood there amid the animal-like 
babble of the Cubans, the crack of rifles, and the 
whistling snarl of the bullets, and wig-wagged 
whatever he had to wig-wag without heeding any- 
thing but his business. There was not a single 
trace of nervousness or haste. 

To say the least, a fight at close range is absorb- 
ing as a spectacle. No man wants to take his eyes 
from it until that time comes when he makes up 
his mind to run away. To deliberately stand up 
and turn your back to a battle is in itself hard 
work. To deliberately stand up and turn your 
back to a battle and hear immediate evidences of 
the boundless enthusiasm with which a large com- 
pany of the enemy shoot at you from an adjacent 
thicket is, to my mind at least, a very great feat. 
One need not dwell upon the detail of keeping the 
mind carefully upon a slow spelling of an impor- 
tant code message. 

I saw Quick betray only one sign of emotion. 
As he swung his clumsy flag to and fro, an end 
of it once caught on a cactus pillar, and he looked 
sharply over his shoulder to see what had it. He 
gave the flag an impatient jerk. He looked an- 


IN the twilight, a great crowd was streaming 
up the Prado in Havana. The people had been 
down to the shore to laugh and twiddle their 
fingers at the American blockading fleet mere 
colourless shapes on the edge of the sea. Gor- 
geous challenges had been issued to the far-away 
ships by little children and women while the men 
laughed. Havana was happy, for it was known 
that the illustrious sailor Don Patricio de Montojo 
had with his fleet met the decaying ships of one 
Dewey and smitten them into stuffing for a baby's 
pillow. Of course the American sailors were 
drunk at the time, but the American sailors were 
always drunk. Newsboys galloped among the 
crowd crying La Lucha and La Marina. The 
papers said : " This is as we foretold. How could 
it be otherwise when the cowardly Yankees met 
our brave sailors? " But the tongues of the exu- 
berant people ran more at large. One man said in 
aloud voice : " How unfortunate it is that we still 
have to buy meat in Havana when so much pork 

is floating in Manila Bay ! " Amid the conse- 


quent laughter, another man retorted : " Oh, 
never mind ! That pork in Manila is rotten. It 
always was rotten." Still another man said : 
" But, little friend, it would make good manure 
for our fields if only we had it." And still an- 
other man said : " Ah, wait until our soldiers get 
with the wives of the Americans and there will be 
many little Yankees to serve hot on our tables. 
The men of the Maine simply made our appetites 
good. Never mind the pork in Manila. There 
will be plenty." Women laughed ; children 
laughed because their mothers laughed ; every- 
body laughed. And a word with you these 
people were cackling and chuckling and insulting 
their own dead, their own dead men of Spain, for 
if the poor green corpses floated then in Manila 
Bay they were not American corpses. 

The newsboys came charging with an extra. 
The inhabitants of Philadelphia had fled to the 
forests because of a Spanish bombardment and 
also Boston was besieged by the Apaches who 
had totally invested the town. The Apache 
artillery had proven singularly effective and an 
American garrison had been unable to face it. In 
Chicago millionaires were giving away their 
palaces for two or three loaves of bread. These 
despatches were from Madrid and every word was 


truth, but they added little to the enthusiasm be- 
cause the crowd God help mankind was greatly 
occupied with visions of Yankee pork floating in 
Manila Bay. This will be thought to be embit- 
tered writing. Very well ; the writer admits its 
untruthfulness in one particular. It is untruthful 
in that it fails to reproduce one-hundredth part 
of the grossness and indecency of popular expres- 
sion in Havana up to the time when the people 
knew they were beaten. 

There were no lights on the Prado or in other 
streets because of a military order. In the slow- 
moving crowd, there was a young man and an old 
woman. Suddenly the young man laughed a 
strange metallic laugh and spoke in English, not 
cautiously. " That's damned hard to listen to." 

The woman spoke quickly. " Hush, you little 
idiot. Do you want to be walkin' across that 
grass-plot in Cabanas with your arms tied behind 
you?" Then she murmured sadly: "Johnnie, I 
wonder if that's true what they say about 

" I don't know," said Johnnie, " but I think 
they're lying." 

As they crossed the Plaza, they could see that 
the Caf< Tacon was crowded with Spanish officers 
in blue and white pajama uniforms. Wine and 


brandy was being wildly consumed in honour of 
the victory at Manila. " Let's hear what they 
say," said Johnnie to his companion, and they 
moved across the street and in under the por tales. 
The owner of the Cafe Tacon was standing on a 
table making a speech amid cheers. He was ad- 
vocating the crucifixion of such Americans as fell 
into Spanish hands and it was all very sweet and 
white and tender, but above all, it was chivalrous, 
because it is well known that the Spaniards are a 
chivalrous people. It has been remarked both by 
the English newspapers and by the bulls that are 
bred for the red death. And secretly the corpses 
in Manila Bay mocked this jubilee ; the mocking, 
mocking corpses in Manila Bay. 

To be blunt, Johnnie was an American spy. 
Once he had been the manager of a sugar planta- 
tion in Pinar del Rio, and during the insurrection 
it had been his distinguished function to pay trib- 
ute of money, food and forage alike to Spanish 
columns and insurgent bands. He was performing 
this straddle with benefit to his crops and with 
mildew to his conscience when Spain and the 
United States agreed to skirmish, both in the 
name of honour. It then became a military 
necessity that he should change his base. What- 
ever of the province that was still alive was sorry 


to see him go for he had been a very dexterous 
man and food and wine had been in his house even 
when a man with a mango could gain the envy of 
an entire Spanish battalion. Without doubt he 
had been a mere trimmer, but it was because of 
his crop and he always wrote the word thus : 
CROP. In those days a man of peace and com- 
merce was in a position parallel to the watch- 
maker who essayed a task in the midst of a drunken 
brawl with oaths, bottles and bullets flying about 
his intent bowed head. So many of them or all 
of them were trimmers, and to any armed force 
they fervently said : " God assist you." And be- 
hold, the trimmers dwelt safely in a tumultuous 
land and without effort save that their little 
machines for trimming ran night and day. So 
many a plantation became covered with a maze of 
lies as if thick-webbing spiders had run from stalk 
to stalk in the cane. So sometimes a planter in- 
curred an equal hatred from both sides and when 
in trouble there was no camp to which he could 
flee save, straight in air, the camp of the heavenly 

If Johnnie had not had a crop, he would have 
been plainly on the side of the insurgents, but his 
crop staked him down to the soil at a point where 
the Spaniards could always be sure of finding him 


him or his crop it is the same thing. But 
when war came between Spain and the United 
States he could no longer be the cleverest trimmer 
in Pinar del Rio. And he retreated upon Key 
West losing much of his baggage train, not be- 
cause of panic but because of wisdom. In Key 
West, he was no longer the manager of a big 
Cuban plantation ; he was a little tan-faced refugee 
without much money. Mainly he listened ; there 
was nought else to do. In the first place he was 
a young man of extremely slow speech and in the 
Key West Hotel tongues ran like pin-wheels. If 
he had projected his methodic way of thought 
and speech upon this hurricane, he would have 
been as effective as the man who tries to smoke 
against the gale. This truth did not impress him. 
Really, he was impressed with the fact that al- 
though he knew much of Cuba, he could not talk 
so rapidly and wisely of it as many war-correspond- 
ents who had not yet seen the island. Usually 
he brooded in silence over a bottle of beer and the 
loss of his crop. He received no sympathy, al- 
though there was a plentitude of tender souls. 
War's first step is to make expectation so high 
that all present things are fogged and darkened 
in a tense wonder of the future. None cared 
about the collapse of Johnnie's plantation when 


all were thinking of the probable collapse of cities 
and fleets. 

In the meantime, battle-ships, monitors, cruisers, 
gunboats and torpedo craft arrived, departed, 
arrived, departed. Rumours sang about the ears 
of warships hurriedly coaling. Rumours sang 
about the ears of warships leisurely coming to 
anchor. This happened and that happened and 
if the news arrived at Key West as a mouse, it 
was often enough cabled north as an elephant. 
The correspondents at Key West were perfectly 
capable of adjusting their perspective, but many 
of the editors in the United States were like deaf 
men at whom one has to roar. A few quiet words 
of information was not enough for them ; one had 
to bawl into their ears a whirlwind tale of heroism, 
blood, death, victory or defeat at any rate, a 
tragedy. The papers should have sent play- 
wrights to the first part of the war. Play-wrights 
are allowed to lower the curtain from time to time 
and say to the crowd : " Mark, ye, now ! Three 
or four months are supposed to elapse. But the 
poor devils at Key West were obliged to keep the 
curtain up all the time. " This isn't a continuous 
performance." " Yes, it is ; k's got to be a con- 
tinuous performance. The welfare of the paper 
demands it. The people want news." Very well : 


continuous performance. It is strange how men 
of sense can go aslant at the bidding of other men 
of sense and combine to contribute to a general 
mess of exaggeration and bombast. But we did ; 
and in the midst of the furor I remember the still 
figure of Johnnie, the planter, the ex-trimmer. 
He looked dazed. 

This was in May. 

We all liked him. From time to time some of 
us heard in his words the vibrant of a thoughtful 
experience. But it could not be well heard ; it 
was only like the sound of a bell from under the 
floor. We were too busy with our own clatter. 
He was taciturn and competent while we solved 
the war in a babble of tongues. Soon we went 
about our peaceful paths saying ironically one to 
another : " War is hell." Meanwhile, managing 
editors fought us tooth and nail and we all were 
sent boxes of medals inscribed : " Incompetency." 
We became furious with ourselves. Why couldn't 
we send hair-raising despatches ? Why couldn't 
we inflame the wires? All this we did. If a 
first-class armoured cruiser which had once been 
a tow-boat fired a six-pounder shot from her for- 
ward thirteen-inch gun turret, the world heard of 
it, you bet. We were not idle men. We had 
come to report the war and we did it. Our good 


names and our salaries depended upon it and we 
were urged by our managing-editors to remember 
that the American people were a collection of 
super-nervous idiots who would immediately have 
convulsions if we did not throw them some news 
any news. It was not true, at all. The Ameri- 
can people were anxious for things decisive to 
happen ; they were not anxious to be lulled to 
satisfaction with a drug. But we lulled them. 
We told them this and we told them that, and I 
warrant you our screaming sounded like the noise 
of a lot of sea-birds settling for the night among 
the black crags. 

In the meantime, Johnnie stared and meditated. 
In his unhurried, unstartled manner he was sin- 
gularly like another man who was flying the 
pennant as commander-in-chief of the North 
Atlantic Squadron. Johnnie was a refugee ; the 
admiral was an admiral. And yet they were much 
akin, these two. Their brother was the Strategy 
Board the only capable political institution of 
the war. At Key West the naval officers spoke 
of their business and were devoted to it and were 
bound to succeed in it, but when the flag-ship was 
in port the only two people who were independent 
and sane were the admiral and Johnnie. The rest 
of us were lulling the public with drugs. 


There was much discussion of the new batteries 
at Havana. Johnnie was a typical American. In 
Europe a typical American is a man with a hard 
eye, chin-whiskers and a habit of speaking through 
his nose. Johnnie was a young man of great 
energy, ready to accomplish a colossal thing for 
the basic reason that he was ignorant of its mag- 
nitude. In fact he attacked all obstacles in life in 
a spirit of contempt, seeing them smaller than 
they were until he had actually surmounted them 
when he was likely to be immensely pleased 
with himself. Somewhere in him there was a 
sentimental tenderness, but it was like a light seen 
afar at night ; it came, went, appeared again in a 
new place, flickered, flared, went out, left you in 
a void and angry. And if his sentimental tender- 
ness was a light, the darkness in which it puzzled 
you was his irony of soul. This irony was di- 
rected first at himself ; then at you ; then at the 
nation and the flag ; then at God. It was a mid- 
night in which you searched for the little elusive, 
ashamed spark of tender sentiment. Sometimes, 
you thought this was all pretext, the manner and 
the way of fear of the wit of others; sometimes 
you thought he was a hardened savage ; usually 
you did not think but waited in the cheerful cer- 
tainty that in time the little flare of light would 
appear in the gloom. 


Johnnie decided that he would go and spy upon 
the fortifications of Havana. If any one wished 
to know of those batteries it was the admiral of 
the squadron, but the admiral of the squadron 
knew much. I feel sure that he knew the size 
and position of every gun. To be sure, new guns 
might be mounted at any time, but they would 
not be big guns, and doubtless he lacked in his 
cabin less information than would be worth a 
man's life. Still, Johnnie decided to be a spy. 
He would go and look. We of the newspapers 
pinned him fast to the tail of our kite and he was 
taken to see the admiral. I judge that the admiral 
did not display much interest in the plan. But at 
any rate it seems that he touched Johnnie smartly 
enough with a brush to make him, officially, a 
spy. Then Johnnie bowed and left the cabin. 
There was no other machinery. If Johnnie was 
to end his life and leave a little book about it, no 
one cared least of all, Johnnie and the admiral. 
When he came aboard the tug, he displayed his 
usual stalwart and rather selfish zest for fried eggs. 
It was all some kind of an ordinary matter. It 
was done every day. It was the business of pack- 
ing pork, sewing shoes, binding hay. It was com- 
monplace. No one could adjust it, get it in pro, 
portion, until afterwards. On a dark night, they 


heaved him into a small boat and rowed him to 
the beach. 

And one day he appeared at the door of a little 
lodging-house in Havana kept by Martha Clancy, 
born in Ireland, bred in New York, fifteen years 
married to a Spanish captain, and now a widow, 
keeping Cuban lodgers who had no money with 
which to pay her. She opened the door only a little 
way and looked down over her spectacles at him. 

"Good-mornin', Martha," he said. 

She looked a moment in silence. Then she 
made an indescribable gesture of weariness. 
" Come in," she said. He stepped inside. " And 
in God's name couldn't you keep your necjc out of 
this rope ? And so you had to come here, did 
you to Havana? Upon my soul, Johnnie, my 
son, you are the biggest fool on two legs." 

He moved past her into the court-yard and took 
his old chair at the table between the winding 
stairway and the door near the orange tree. 
" Why am I ? " he demanded stoutly. She made 
no reply until she had taken seat in her rocking- 
chair and puffed several times upon a cigarette. 
Then through the smoke she said meditatively : 
" Everybody knows ye are a damned little 
mambi." Sometimes she spoke with an Irish 


He laughed. I'm no more of a mambi than you 
are, anyhow." 

" I'm no mambi. But your name is poison to 
half the Spaniards in Havana. That you know. 
And if you were once safe in Cayo Hueso, 'tis 
nobody but a born fool who would come blun- 
derin' into Havana again. Have ye had your 

" What have you got ? " he asked before com- 
mitting himself. 

She arose and spoke without confidence as she 
moved toward the cupboard. " There's some cod- 
fish salad." 

" What ? " said he. 

" Codfish salad." 

" Codfish what?" 

" Codfish salad. Ain't it good enough for ye ? 
Maybe this is Delmonico's no? Maybe ye never 
heard that the Yankees have us blockaded, hey ? 
Maybe ye think food can be picked in the 
streets here now, hey ? I'll tell ye one thing, my 
son, if you stay here long you'll see the want of 
it and so you had best not throw it over your 

The spy settled determinedly in his chair and 
delivered himself his final decision. " That may 
all be true, but I'm damned if I eat codfish salad." 


Old Martha was a picture of quaint despair. 
"You'll not?" 


" Then," she sighed piously, " may the Lord 
have mercy on ye, Johnnie, for you'll never do 
here. 'Tis not the time for you. You're due 
after the blockade. Will you do me the favour of 
translating why you won't eat codfish salad, you 
skinny little insurrecto ? " 

" Cod-fish salad ! " he said with a deep sneer. 
" Who ever heard of it ! " 

Outside, on the jumbled pavement of the street, 
an occasional two-wheel cart passed with deafen- 
ing thunder, making one think of the overturning 
of houses. Down from the pale sky over the 
patio came a heavy odour of Havana itself, a 
smell of old straw. The wild cries of vendors 
could be heard at intervals. 

"You'll not?" 


" And why not ? " 

" Cod-fish salad ? Not by a blame sight ! " 

" Well all right then. You are more of a pig- 
headed young imbecile than even I thought from 
seeing you come into Havana here where half the 
town knows you and the poorest Spaniard would 
give a gold piece to see you go into Cabanas and 


forget to come out. Did I tell you, my son Al- 
fred is sick ? Yes, poor little fellow, he lies up in 
the room you used to have. The fever. And 
did you see Woodham in Key West ? Heaven 
save us, what quick time he made in getting out. 
I hear Figtree and Button are working in the 
cable office over there no? And when is the 
war going to end ? Are the Yankees going to try 
to take Havana ? It will be a hard job, Johnnie ? 
The Spaniards say it is impossible. Everybody 
is laughing at the Yankees. I hate to go into 
the street and hear them. Is General Lee going 
to lead the army ? What's become of Springer ? 
I see you've got a new pair of shoes." 

In the evening there was a sudden loud knock 
at the outer door. Martha looked at Johnnie and 
Johnnie looked at Martha. He was still sitting in 
the patio, smoking. She took the lamp and set 
it on a table in the little parlour. This parlour 
connected the street-door with the patio, and so 
Johnnie would be protected from the sight of the 
people who knocked by the broad illuminated 
tract. Martha moved in pensive fashion upon the 
latch. " Who's there ? " she asked casually. 

" The police." There it was, an old melodra- 
matic incident from the stage, from the romances. 
One could scarce believe it. It had all the dig- 


nity of a classic resurrection. "The police!" 
One sneers at its probability ; it is too venerable. 
But so it happened. 

" Who ? " said Martha. 

" The police ! " 

" What do you want here ? " 

" Open the door and we'll tell you." 

Martha drew back the ordinary huge bolts of a 
Havana house and opened the door a trifle. " Tell 
me what you want and begone quickly," she said, 
" for my little boy is ill of the fever " 

She could see four or five dim figures, and now 
one of these suddenly placed a foot well within 
the door so that she might not close it. " We 
have come for Johnnie. We must search your 

"Johnnie? Johnnie? Who is Johnnie ?" said 
Martha in her best manner. 

The police inspector grinned with the light upon 
his face. " Don't you know Sefior Johnnie from 
Pinar del Rio ? " he asked. 

" Before the war yes. But now where is he 
he must be in Key West ? " 

" He is in your house." 

" He? In my house? Do me the favour to 
think that I have some intelligence. Would I be 
likely to be harbouring a Yankee in these times ? 


You must think I have no more head than an 
Orden Publico. And I'll not have you search my 
house, for there is no one here save my son who 
is maybe dying of the fever and the doctor. The 
doctor is with him because now is the crisis, and 
any one little thing may kill or cure my boy, and 
you will do me the favour to consider what may 
happen if I allow five or six heavy-footed police- 
men to go tramping all over my house. You may 
think " 

" Stop it," said the chief police officer at last. 
He was laughing and weary and angry. 

Martha checked her flow of Spanish. " There ! " 
she thought, " I've done my best. He ought to 
fall in with it." But as the police entered she 
began on them again. " You will search the house 
whether I like it or no. Very well ; but if any- 
thing happens to my boy ? It is a nice way of 
conduct, anyhow coming into the house of a 
widow at night and talking much about this Yankee 
and " 

" For God's sake, seftora, hold your tongue. 
We " 

" Oh, yes, the sefiora can for God's sake very 
well hold her tongue, but that wouldn't assist you 
men into the street where you belong. Take 
care : if my sick boy suffers from this prowling ! 


No, you'll find nothing in that wardrobe. And 
do you think he would be under the table ? Don't 
overturn all that linen. Look you, when you go 
upstairs, tread lightly." 

Leaving a man on guard at the street door and 
another in the patio, the chief policeman and the 
remainder of his men ascended to the gallery from 
which opened three sleeping-rooms. They were 
followed by Martha abjuring them to make no 
noise. The first room was empty ; the second 
room was empty ; as they approached the door of 
the third room, Martha whispered supplications. 
"Now, in the name of God, don't disturb my 
boy." The inspector motioned his men to pause 
and then he pushed open the door. Only one 
weak candle was burning in the room and its 
yellow light fell upon the bed whereon was 
stretched the figure of a little curly-headed boy in 
a white nightey. He was asleep, but his face was 
pink with fever and his lips were murmuring some 
half-coherent childish nonsense. At the head of 
the bed stood the motionless figure of a man. 
His back was to the door, but upon hearing a 
noise he held a solemn hand. There was an odour 
of medicine. Out on the balcony, Martha appar- 
ently was weeping. 

The inspector hesitated for a moment ; then he 


noiselessly entered the room and with his yellow 
cane prodded under the bed, in the cupboard and 
behind the window-curtains. Nothing came of it. 
He shrugged his shoulders and went out to the 
balcony. He was smiling sheepishly. Evidently 
he knew that he had been beaten. " Very good, 
Seftora," he said. " You are clever ; some day I 
shall be clever, too. He shook his ringer at her. 
He was threatening her but he affected to be 
playful. " Then beware ! Beware ! " 

Martha replied blandly, " My late husband, El 
Capitan Seftor Don Patricio de Castellon y Valla- 
dolid was a cavalier of Spain and if he was alive 
to-night he would now be cutting the ears from 
the heads of you and your miserable men who 
smell frightfully of cognac." 

" For Dios ! " muttered the inspector as followed 
by his band he made his way down the spiral 
staircase. " It is a tongue ! One vast tongue ! " 
At the street-door they made ironical bows ; they 
departed ; they were angry men. 

Johnnie came down when he heard Martha 
bolting the door behind the police. She brought 
back the lamp to the table in the patio and stood 
beside it, thinking. Johnnie dropped into his old 
chair. The expression on the spy's face was curi- 
ous ; it pictured glee, anxiety, self-complacency ; 


above all it pictured self-complacency. Martha 
said nothing ; she was still by the lamp, musing. 

The long silence was suddenly broken by a 
tremendous guffaw from Johnnie. " Did you ever 
see sich a lot of fools ! " He leaned his head far 
back and roared victorious merriment. 

Martha was almost dancing in her apprehension. 
" Hush ! Be quiet, you little demon ! Hush ! 
Do me the favour to allow them to get to the corner 
before you bellow like a walrus. Be quiet." 

The spy ceased his laughter and spoke in 
indignation. " Why ? " he demanded. " Ain't I 
got a right to laugh ? " 

" Not with a noise like a cow fallin' into a cu- 
cumber-frame," she answered sharply. " Do me 

the favour " Then she seemed overwhelmed 

with a sense of the general hopelessness of John- 
nie's character. She began to wag her head. 
" Oh, but you are the boy for gettin* yourself into 
the tiger's cage without even so much as the 
thought of a pocket-knife in your thick head. 
You would be a genius of the first water if you 
only had a little sense. And now you're here, 
what are you going to do ? " 

He grinned at her. " I'm goin* to hold an in- 
spection of the land and sea defences of the city 
of Havana." 


Martha's spectacles dropped low on her nose 
and, looking over the rims of them in grave med- 
itation, she said : " If you can't put up with cod- 
fish salad you had better make short work of your 
inspection of the land and sea defences of the 
city of Havana. You are likely to starve in the 
meantime. A man who is particular about his 
food has come to the wrong town if he is in Ha- 
vana now." 

" No, but " asked Johnnie seriously. " Have- 
n't you any bread ? " 


" Well, coffee then ? Coffee alone will do." 


Johnnie arose deliberately and took his hat. 
Martha eyed him. "And where do you think 
you are goin' ? " she asked cuttingly. 

Still deliberate, Johnnie moved in the direction 
of the street-door. " I'm goin' where I can get 
something to eat." 

Martha sank into a chair with a moan which 
was a finished opinion almost a definition of 
Johnnie's behaviour in life. " And where will 
you go ? " she asked faintly. 

" Oh, I don't know," he rejoined. " Some cafe*. 
Guess I'll go to the Cafe" Aguacate. They feed 
you well there. I remember " 


" You remember ? They remember ! They 
know you as well as if you were the sign over the 

" Oh, they won't give me away," said Johnnie 
with stalwart confidence. 

" Gi-give you away? Give you a-way?" 
stammered Martha. 

The spy made no answer but went to the door, 
unbarred it and passed into the street. Martha 
caught her breath and ran after him and came 
face to face with him as he turned to shut the 
door. " Johnnie, if ye come back, bring a loaf 
of bread. I'm dyin* for one good honest bite in 
a slice of bread." 

She heard his peculiar derisive laugh as she 
bolted the door. She returned to her chair in the 
patio. " Well, there," she said with affection, ad- 
miration and contempt. " There he goes ! The 
most hard-headed little ignoramus in twenty na- 
tions ! What does he care ? Nothin' ! And why 
is it? Pure bred-in-the-bone ignorance. Just be- 
cause he can't stand codfish salad he goes out to a 
cafe ! A cafe where they know him as if they had 
made him ! . . . Well .... I won't see him 
again, probably. . . . But if he comes back, I 
hope he brings some bread. I'm near dead for 



Johnnie strolled carelessly through dark nar- 
row streets. Near every corner were two Orden 
Publicos a kind of soldier-police quiet in the 
shadow of some doorway, their Remingtons 
ready, their eyes shining. Johnnie walked past 
as if he owned them, and their eyes followed him 
with a sort of a lazy mechanical suspicion which 
was militant in none of its moods. 

Johnnie was suffering from a desire to be 
splendidly imprudent. He wanted to make the 
situation gasp and thrill and tremble. From time 
to time he tried to conceive the idea of his being 
caught, but to save his eyes he could not imagine 
it. Such an event was impossible to his peculiar 
breed of fatalism which could not have conceded 
death until he had mouldered seven years. 

He arrived at the Cafe" Aguacate and found it 
much changed. The thick wooden shutters were 
up to keep light from shining into the street. 
Inside, there were only a few Spanish officers. 
Johnnie walked to the private rooms at the rear. 
He found an empty one and pressed the electric 
button. When he had passed through the main 


part of the cafe no one had noted him. The first 
to recognise him was the waiter who answered 
the bell. This worthy man turned to stone 
before the presence of Johnnie. 

" Buenos noche, Francisco," said the spy, 
enjoying himself. " I have hunger. Bring me 
bread, butter, eggs and coffee." There was a 
silence; .the waiter did not move ; Johnnie smiled 
casually at him. 

The man's throat moved ; then like one sud- 
denly re-endowed with life, he bolted from the 
room. After a long time, he returned with the 
proprietor of the place. In the wicked eye of the 
latter there gleamed the light of a plan. He did 
not respond to Johnnie's genial greeting, but at 
once proceeded to develop his position. " John- 
nie," he said, " bread is very dear in Havana. It 
is very dear." 

" Is it ? " said Johnnie looking keenly at the 
speaker. He understood at once that here was 
some sort of an attack upon him. 

" Yes," answered the proprietor of the Caf 
Aguacate slowly and softly. " It is very dear. I 
think to-night one small bit of bread will cost you 
one centene in advance." A centene approxi- 
mates five dollars in gold." 

The spy's face did not change. He appeared 


to reflect. " And how much for the butter ? " he 
asked at last. 

The proprietor gestured. " There is no butter. 
Do you think we can have everything with those 
Yankee pigs sitting out there on their ships ? " 

" And how much for the coffee ? " asked Johnnie 

Again the two men surveyed each other 
during a period of silence. Then the proprietor 
said gently, " I think your coffee will cost you 
about two centenes." 

" And the eggs ? " 

" Eggs are very dear. I think eggs would cost 
you about three centenes for each one/' 

The new looked at the old ; the North Atlantic 
looked at the Mediterranean ; the wooden nut- 
meg looked at the olive. Johnnie slowly took 
six centenes from his pocket and laid them on the 
table. " That's for bread, coffee, and one egg. I 
don't think I could eat more than one egg to- 
night. I'm not so hungry as I was." 

The proprietor held a perpendicular finger and 
tapped the table with it. " Oh, sefior," he said 
politely, " I think you would like two eggs." 

Johnnie saw the finger. He understood It. 
" Ye-e-es," he drawled. " I would like two eggs." 
He placed three more centenes on the table. 


" And a little thing for the waiter ? I am sure 
his services will be excellent, invaluable." 

" Ye-e-es, for the waiter." Another centene was 
laid on the table. 

The proprietor bowed and preceded the waiter 
out of the room. There was a mirror on the wall 
and, springing to his feet, the spy thrust his face 
close to the honest glass. " Well, I'm damned ! " 
he ejaculated. " Is this me or is this the Honour- 
able D. Hayseed Whiskers of Kansas ? Who am 
I, anyhow ? Five dollars in gold ! . . . Say, 
these people are clever. They know their business, 
they do. Bread, coffee and two eggs and not 
even sure of getting it ! Fifty dol . . . 
Never mind ; wait until the war is over. Fifty 
dollars gold ! " He sat for a long time; nothing 
happened. (< Eh," he said at last, " that's the 
game." As the front door of the cafe closed 
upon him, he heard the proprietor and one of the 
waiters burst into derisive laughter. 

Martha was waiting for him. " And here ye 
are, safe back," she said with delight as she let him 
enter. " And did ye bring the bread ? Did ye 
bring the bread ? " 

But she saw that he was raging like a lunatic. 
His face was red and swollen with temper; 
his eyes shot forth gleams. Presently he stood 


before her in the patio where the light fell on him. 
" Don't speak to me," he choked out waving his 
arms. " Don't speak to me ! Damn your bread ! 
I went to the Cafe Aguacate ! Oh, yes, I went 
there ! Of course, I did ! And do you know 
what they did to me? No ! Oh, they didn't do 
anything to me at all ! Not a thing ! Fifty dol- 
lars ! Ten gold pieces ! " 

" May the saints guard us," cried Martha. " And 
what was that for ? " 

" Because they wanted them more than I did," 
snarled Johnnie. " Don't you see the game. I 
go into the Cafe Aguacate. The owner of the 
place says to himself, ' Hello ! Here's that 
Yankee what they call Johnnie. He's got no 
right here in Havana. Guess I'll peach on him 
to the police. They'll put him in Cabanas as a 
spy.' Then he does a little more thinking, and 
finally he says, ' No ; I guess I won't peach on 
him just this minute. First, I'll take a small 
flyer myself.' So in he comes and looks me right 
in the eye and says, ' Excuse me but it will be a 
centene for the bread, a centene for the coffee, 
and eggs are at three centenes each. Besides 
there will be a small matter of another gold-piece 
for the waiter.' I think this over. I think it over 
hard. . . . He's clever anyhow. . . . When this 


cruel war is over, I'll be after him. . . . I'm a 
nice secret agent of the United States government, 
I am. I come here to be too clever for all the 
Spanish police, and the first thing I do is get 
buncoed by a rotten, little thimble-rigger in a cafe. 
Oh, yes, I'm all right." 

" May the saints % guard us ! " cried Martha 
again. " I'm old enough to be your mother, or 
maybe, your grandmother, and I've seen a lot ; 
but it's many a year since I laid eyes on such a 
ign'rant and wrong-headed little, red Indian as ye 
are ! Why didn't ye take my advice and stay 
here in the house with decency and comfort. 
But he must be all for doing everything high and 
mighty. The Caf6 Aguacate, if ye please. No 
plain food for his highness. He turns up his nose 
at cod-fish sal 

" Thunder and lightnin', are you going to ram 
that thing down my throat every two minutes, are 
you ? " And in truth she could see that one 
more reference to that illustrious viand would 
break the back of Johnnie's gentle disposition as 
one breaks a twig on the knee. She shifted with 
Celtic ease. " Did ye bring the bread ? " she 

He gazed at her for a moment and suddenly 
laughed. " I forgot to mention," he informed 


her impressively, "that they did not take the 
trouble to give me either the bread, the coffee or 
the eggs." 

" The powers ! " cried Martha. 

" But it's all right. I stopped at a shop." 
From his pockets, he brought a small loaf, some 
kind of German sausage and a flask of Jamaica 
rum. "About all I could get. And they didn't 
want to sell them either. They expect presently 
they can exchange a box of sardines for a grand 

" ' We are not blockaded by the Yankee war- 
ships ; we are blockaded by our grocers,' " said 
Martha, quoting the epidemic Havana saying. 
But she did not delay long from the little loaf. 
She cut a slice from it and sat eagerly munching. 
Johnnie seemed more interested in the Jamaica 
rum. He looked up from his second glass, how- 
ever, because he heard a peculiar sound. The old 
woman was weeping. " Hey, what's this ? " he 
demanded in distress, but with the manner of a 
man who thinks gruffness is the only thing that 
will make people feel better and cease. " What's 
this anyhow ? What are you cryin* for ? " 

" It's the bread," sobbed Martha. " It's the 
the br-e-a-ddd." 

" Huh ? What's the matter with it ? " 


" It's so good, so g-good." The rain of tears 
did not prevent her from continuing her unusual 
report. " Oh, it's so good ! This is the first in 
weeks. I didn't know bread could be so 1-like 

" Here," said Johnnie seriously. " Take a little 
mouthful of this rum. It will do you good." 

" No ; I only want the bub-bub-bread." 

" Well, take the bread, too. . . . There you 
are. Now you feel better. ... By Jove, when 
I think of that Cafe Aguacate man ! Fifty dollars 
gold ! And then not to get anything either. Say, 
after the war, I'm going there, and I'm just going 
to raze that place to the ground. You see \ I'll 
make him think he can charge ME fifteen dollars 
for an egg. . . . And then not give me the egg." 


Johnnie's subsequent activity in Havana could 
truthfully be related in part to a certain tempo- 
rary price of eggs. It is interesting to note how 
close that famous event got to his eye so that, 
according to the law of perspective, it was as big 
as the Capitol of Washington, where centres the 
spirit of his nation. Around him, he felt a similar 


and ferocious expression of life which informed 
him too plainly that if he was caught, he was 
doomed. Neither the garrison nor the citizens of 
Havana would tolerate any nonsense in regard to 
him if he was caught. He would have the steel 
screw against his neck in short order. And what 
was the main thing to bear him up against the 
desire to run away before his work was done ? A 
certain temporary price of eggs ! It not only hid 
the Capitol at Washington ; it obscured the 
dangers in Havana. 

Something was learned of the Santa Clara bat- 
tery, because one morning an old lady in black 
accompanied by a young man evidently her son 
visited a house which was to rent on the height, 
in rear of the battery. The portero was too lazy 
and sleepy to show them over the premises, but 
he granted them permission to investigate for 
themselves. They spent most of their time on 
the flat parapeted roof of the house. At length 
they came down and said that the place did not 
suit them. The portero went to sleep again. 

Johnnie was never discouraged by the thought 
that his operations would be of small benefit to 
the admiral commanding the fleet in adjacent 
waters, and to the general commanding the army 
which was not going to attack Havana from the 


land side. At that time it was all the world's 
opinion that the army from Tampa would pres- 
ently appear on the Cuban beach at some con- 
venient point to the east or west of Havana. It 
turned out, of course, that the condition of the 
defences of Havana was of not the slightest mili- 
tary importance to the United States since the 
city was never attacked either by land or sea. 
But Johnnie could not foresee this. He continued 
to take his fancy risk, continued his majestic lie, 
with satisfaction, sometimes with delight, and 
with pride. And in the psychologic distance was 
old Martha dancing with fear and shouting: 
" Oh, Johnnie, me son, what a born fool ye are ! " 

Sometimes she would address him thus : " And 
when ye learn all this, how are ye goin' to get out 
with it? " She was contemptuous. 

He would reply, as serious as a Cossack in his 
fatalism. " Oh, I'll get out some way." 

His manoeuvres in the vicinity of Regla and 
Guanabacoa were of a brilliant character. He 
haunted the sunny long grass in the manner of a 
jack-rabbit. Sometimes he slept under a palm, 
dreaming of the American advance fighting its 
way along the military road to the foot of Spanish 
defences. Even when awake, he often dreamed 
it and thought of the all-day crash and hot roar 


of an assault. Without consulting Washington, 
he had decided that Havana should be attacked 
from the south-east. An advance from the west 
could be contested right up to the bar of the 
Hotel Inglaterra, but when the first ridge in the 
south-east would be taken, the whole city with 
most of its defences would lie under the American 
siege guns. And the approach to this position 
was as reasonable as is any approach toward the 
muzzles of magazine rifles. Johnnie viewed the 
grassy fields always as a prospective battle-ground, 
and one can see him lying there, filling the land- 
scape with visions of slow-crawling black infantry 
columns, galloping batteries of artillery, streaks 
of faint blue smoke marking the modern firing 
lines, clouds of dust, a vision of ten thousand trag- 
edies. And his ears heard the noises. 

But he was no idle shepherd boy with a head 
haunted by sombre and glorious fancies. On the 
contrary, he was much occupied with practical 
matters. Some months after the close of the 
war, he asked me : " Were you ever fired at from 
very near ? " I explained some experiences which 
I had stupidly esteemed as having been rather 
near. " But did you ever have 'm fire a volley on 
you from close very close say, thirty feet ? " 

Highly scandalised I answered, " No ; in that 


case, I would not be the crowning feature of the 
Smithsonian Institute." 

" Well," he said, " it's a funny effect. You feel 
as every hair on your head had been snatched out 
by the roots." Questioned further he said, " I 
walked right up on a Spanish outpost at day- 
break once, and about twenty men let go at me. 
Thought I was a Cuban army, I suppose." 

" What did you do ? " 

" I run." 

" Did they hit you, at all ? " 

" Naw." 

It had been arranged that some light ship of 
the squadron should rendezvous with him at a 
certain lonely spot on the coast on a certain day 
and hour and pick him up. He was to wave 
something white. His shirt was not white, but he 
waved it whenever he could see the signal-tops 
of a war-ship. It was a very tattered banner. 
After a ten-mile scramble through almost pathless 
thickets, he had very little on him which respect- 
able men would call a shirt, and the less one says 
about his trousers the better. This naked savage, 
then, walked all day up and down a small bit of 
beach waving a brown rag. At night, he slept in 
the sand. At full daybreak he began to wave 
his rag ; at noon he was waving his rag ; at night- 


fall he donned his rag and strove to think of it as 
a shirt. Thus passed two days, and nothing had 
happened. Then he retraced a twenty-five mile 
way to the house of old Martha. At first she 
took him to be one of Havana's terrible beggars 
and cried, "And do you come here for alms? 
Look out, that I do not beg of you." The one 
unchanged thing was his laugh of pure mockery. 
When she heard it, she dragged him through the 
door. He paid no heed to her ejaculations' but 
went straight to where he had hidden some gold. 
As he was untying a bit of string from the neck 
of a small bag, he said, " How is little Alfred?" 
" Recovered, thank Heaven." He handed Martha 
a piece of gold. " Take this and buy what you 
can on the corner. I'm hungry." Martha de- 
parted with expedition. Upon her return, she 
was beaming. She had foraged a thin chicken, 
a bunch of radishes and two bottles of wine. 
Johnnie had finished the radishes and one bottle 
of wine when the chicken was still a long way 
from the table. He called stoutly for more, and 
so Martha passed again into the street with an- 
other gold piece. She bought more radishes, 
more wine and some cheese. They had a grand 
feast, with Johnnie audibly wondering until a late 
hour why he had waved his rag in vain. 


There was no end to his suspense, no end to 
his work. He knew everything. He was an ani- 
mate guide-book. After he knew a thing once, 
he verified it in several different ways in order to 
make sure. He fitted himself for a useful career, 
like a young man in a college with the difference 
that the shadow of the garote fell ever upon his 
way, and that he was occasionally shot at, and that 
he could not get enough to eat, and that his exist- 
ence was apparently forgotten, and that he con- 
tracted the fever. But 

One cannot think of the terms in which to de- 
scribe a futility so vast, so colossal. He had builded 
a little boat, and the sea had receded and left him 
and his boat a thousand miles inland on the top 
of a mountain. The war-fate had left Havana out 
of its plan and thus isolated Johnnie and his sev- 
eral pounds of useful information. The war-fate 
left Havana to become the somewhat indignant 
victim of a peaceful occupation at the close of the 
conflict, and Johnnie's data were worth as much as 
a carpenter's lien on the north pole. He had 
suffered and laboured for about as complete a bit 
of absolute nothing as one could invent. If the 
company which owned the sugar plantation had 
not generously continued his salary during the 
war, he would not have been able to pay his ex- 


penses on the amount allowed him by the govern- 
ment, which, by the way, was a more complete 
bit of absolute nothing than one could possibly 


I met Johnnie in Havana in October, 1898. If 
I remember rightly the U. S. S. Resolute and the 
U. S. S. Scorpion were in the harbour, but beyond 
these two terrible engines of destruction there were 
not as yet any of the more stern signs of the 
American success. Many Americans were to be 
seen in the streets of Havana where they were not 
in any way molested. Among them was Johnnie 
in white duck and a straw hat, cool, complacent 
and with eyes rather more steady than ever. I 
addressed him upon the subject of his supreme 
failure, but I could not perturb his philosophy. In 
reply he simply asked me to dinner. " Come to 
the Cafe Aguacate at 7:30 to-night," he said. " I 
haven't been there in a long time. We shall see 
if they cook as well as ever." I turned up 
promptly and found Johnnie in a private room 
smoking a cigar in the presence of a waiter who 
was blue in the gills. " I've ordered the dinner," 


he said cheerfully. "-Now I want to see if you 
won't be surprised how well they can do here in 
Havana." I was surprised. I was dumfounded. 
Rarely in the history of the world have two ra- 
tional men sat down to such a dinner. It must 
have taxed the ability and endurance of the entire 
working force of the establishment to provide it. 
The variety of dishes was of course related to the 
markets of Havana, but the abundance and general 
profligacy was related only to Johnnie's imagi- 
nation. Neither of us had an appetite. Our fan- 
cies fled in confusion before this puzzling luxury. 
I looked at Johnnie as if he were a native of 
Thibet. I had thought him to be a most simple 
man, and here I found him revelling in food like a 
fat, old senator of Rome's decadence. And if the 
dinner itself put me to open-eyed amazement, the 
names of the wines finished everything. Appar- 
ently Johnny had had but one standard, and that 
was the cost. If a wine had been very expensive, 
he had ordered it. I began to think him probably 
a maniac. At any rate, I was sure that we were 
both fools. Seeing my fixed stare, he spoke with 
affected languor : " I wish peacocks' brains and 
melted pearls were to be had here in Havana. 
We'd have 'em." Then he grinned. As a mere 
skirmisher I said, " In New York, we think we 


dine well; but really this, you know well 
Havana " 

Johnnie waved his hand pompously. " Oh, I 

Directly after coffee, Johnnie excused himself 
for a moment and left the room. When he re- 
turned he said briskly, " Well, are you ready to 
go ? " As soon as we were in a cab and safely out 
of hearing of the Caf Aguacate, Johnnie lay back 
and laughed long and joyously. 

But I was very serious. " Look here, Johnnie," 
I said to him solemnly, " when you invite me to 
dine with you, don't you ever do that again. And 
I'll tell you one thing when you dine with me 
you will probably get the ordinary table d'hote." 
I was an older man. 

" Oh, that's all right," he cried. And then he 
too grew serious. " Well, as far as I am concerned 
as far as I am concerned," he said, " the war is 
now over." 


" BUT to get the real thing ! " cried Vernall, the 
war-correspondent. " It seems impossible ! It is 
because war is neither magnificent nor squalid ; it is 
simply life, and an expression of life can always 
evade us. We can never tell life, one to another, 
although sometimes we think we can." 

When I climbed aboard the despatch-boat at 
Key West, the mate told me irritably that as soon 
as we crossed the bar, we would find ourselves 
monkey-climbing over heavy seas. It wasn't my 
fault, but he seemed to insinuate that it was all a 
result of my incapacity. There were four corre- 
spondents in the party. The leader of us came 
aboard with a huge bunch of bananas, which he 
hung like a chandelier in the centre of the tiny 
cabin. We made acquaintance over, around, and 
under this bunch of bananas, which really occupied 
the cabin as a soldier occupies a sentry box. But 
the bunch did not become really aggressive until 

we were well at sea. Then it began to spar. 



With the first roll of the ship, it launched its hon- 
est pounds at McCurdy and knocked him wildly 
through the door to the deck-rail, where he hung 
cursing hysterically. Without a moment's pause, 
it made for me. I flung myself head-first into my 
bunk and watched the demon sweep Brown- 
low into a corner and wedge his knee behind a 
sea-chest. Kary gave a shrill cry and fled. The 
bunch of bananas swung to and fro, silent, deter- 
mined, ferocious, looking for more men. It had 
cleared a space for itself. My comrades looked 
in at the door, calling upon me to grab the thing 
and hold it. I pointed out to them the security 
and comfort of my position. They were angry. 
Finally the mate came and lashed the thing so 
that it could not prowl about the cabin and assault 
innocent war-correspondents. You see ? War ! 
A bunch of bananas rampant because the ship 



In that early period of the war we were forced 
to continue our dreams. And we were all dream- 
ers, envisioning the seas with death grapples, ship 
and ship. Even the navy grew cynical. Officers 
on the bridge lifted their megaphones and told 
you in resigned voices that they were out of ice, 
onions, and eggs. At other times, they would 
shoot quite casually at us with six-pounders. This 


industry usually progressed in the night, but it 
sometimes happened in the day. There was never 
any resentment on our side, although at moments 
there was some nervousness. They were impres- 
sively quick with their lanyards ; our means of 
replying to signals were correspondingly slow. 
They gave you opportunity to say, " Heaven guard 
me ! " Then they shot. But we recognised the 
propriety of it. Everything was correct save the 
war, which lagged and lagged and lagged. It did 
not play ; it was not a gory giant ; it was a bunch 
of bananas swung in the middle of the cabin. 

Once we had the honour of being rammed at 
midnight by the U. S. S. Machias. In fact the ex- 
ceeding industry of the naval commanders of the 
Cuban blockading fleet caused a certain liveliness 
to at times penetrate our mediocre existence. 
We were all greatly entertained over an immediate 
prospect of being either killed by rapid fire guns, 
cut in half by the ram or merely drowned, but 
even our great longing for diversion could not 
cause us to ever again go near the Machias on a 
dark night. We had sailed from Key West on a 
mission that had nothing to do with the coast of 
Cuba, and steaming due east and some thirty- 
five miles from the Cuban land, we did not think 
we were liable to an affair with any of the fierce 


American cruisers. Suddenly a familiar signal of 
red and white lights flashed like a brooch of jewels 
on the pall that covered the sea. It was far away 
and tiny, but we knew all about it. It was the 
electric question of an American war-ship and it 
demanded a swift answer in kind. The man be- 
hind the gun ! What about the man in front of 
the gun ? The war-ship signals vanished and the 
sea presented nothing but a smoky black stretch 
lit with the hissing white tops of the flying 
waves. A thin line of flame swept from a gun. 

Thereafter followed one of those silences which 
had become so peculiarly instructive to the block- 
ade-runner. Somewhere in the darkness we knew 
that a slate-coloured cruiser, red below the water- 
line and with a gold scroll on her bows, was flying 
over the waves toward us, while upon the dark 
decks the men stood at general quarters in silence 
about the long thin guns, and -it was the law of 
life and death that we should make true answer 
in about the twelfth part of a second. Now I 
shall with regret disclose a certain dreadful secret 
of the despatch-boat service. Our signals, far 
from being electric, were two lanterns which we 
kept in a tub and covered with a tarpaulin. The 
tub was placed just forward of the pilot-house, 
and when we were accosted at night it was every- 


body's duty to scramble wildly for the tub and 
grab out the lanterns and wave them. It 
amounted to a slowness of speech. I remember 
a story of an army sentry who upon hearing a 
noise in his front one dark night called his usual 
sharp query. " Halt who's there ? Halt or 
I'll fire ! " And getting no immediate response 
he fired even as he had said, killing a man 'with a 
hair-lip who unfortunately could not arrange his 
vocal machinery to reply in season. We were 
something like a boat with a hair-lip. And some- 
times it was very trying to the nerves. . . . The 
pause was long. Then a voice spoke from the 
sea through a megaphone. It was faint but 
clear. " What ship is that ? " No one hesitated 
over his answer in cases of this kind. Everybody 
was desirous of imparting fullest information. 
There was another pause. Then out of the dark- 
ness flew an American cruiser, silent as death, 
handled as ferociously as if the devil commanded 
her. Again the little voice hailed from the 
bridge. "What ship is that ?" Evidently the 
reply to the first hail had been misunderstood or 
not heard. This time the voice rang with men- 
ace, menace of immediate and certain destruc- 
tion, and the last word was intoned savagely and 
strangely across the windy darkness as if the 


officer would explain that the cruiser was after 
either fools or the common enemy. The yells in 
return did not stop her. She was hurling herself 
forward to ram us amidships, and the people on 
the little Three Friends looked at a tall swoop- 
ing bow, and it was keener than any knife that 
has ever been made. As the cruiser lunged 
every man imagined the gallant and famous but 
frail Three Friends cut into two parts as neatly 
as if she had been cheese. But there was a sheer 
and a hard sheer to starboard, and down upon our 
quarter swung a monstrous thing larger than any 
ship in the world the U. S. S. Machias. She 
had a freeboard of about three hundred feet and 
the top of her funnel was out of sight in the 
clouds like an Alp. I shouldn't wonder that at 
the top of that funnel there was a region of per- 
petual snow. And at a range which swiftly nar- 
rowed to nothing every gun in her port-battery 
swung deliberately into aim. It was closer, more 
deliciously intimate than a duel across a hand- 
kerchief. We all had an opportunity of looking 
miles down the muzzles of this festive artillery 
before came the collision. Then the Machias reeled 
her steel shoulder against the wooden side of the 
Three Friends and up went a roar as if a vast 
shingle roof had fallen. The poor little tug 


dipped as if she meant to pass under the war-ship, 
staggered and finally righted, trembling from 
head to foot. The cries of the splintered timbers 
ceased. The men on the tug gazed at each other 
with white faces shining faintly in the darkness. 
The Machias backed away even as the Three 
Friends drew slowly ahead, and again we were 
alone with the piping of the wind and the slash 
of the gale-driven water. Later, from some 
hidden part of the sea, the bullish eye of a search- 
light looked at us and the widening white rays 
bathed us in the glare. There was another hail. 
" Hello there, Three Friends ! " " Ay, ay, sir ! " 
*' Are you injured?" Our first mate had taken 
a lantern and was studying the side of the tug, 
and we held our breath for his answer. I was 
sure that he was going to say that we were sink- 
ing. Surely there could be no other ending to 
this terrific bloodthirsty assault. But the first 
mate said, " No, sir." Instantly the glare of the 
search-light was gone ; the Machias was gone ; 
the incident was closed. 

I was dining once on board the flag-ship, the 
New York, armoured cruiser. It was the junior 
officers' mess, and when the coffee came, a young 
ensign went to the piano and began to bang out 
a popular tune. It was a cheerful scene, and it 


resembled only a cheerful scene. Suddenly we 
heard the whistle of the bos'n's mate, and directly 
above us, it seemed, a voice, hoarse as that of a 
sea-lion, bellowed a Command : " Man the port 
battery." In a moment the table was vacant ; 
the popular tune ceased in a jangle. On the quar- 
ter-deck assembled a group of officers spectators. 
The quiet evening sea, lit with faint red lights, 
went peacefully to the feet of a verdant shore. 
One could hear the far-away measured tumbling 
of surf upon a reef. Only this sound pulsed in 
the air. The great grey cruiser was as still as the 
earth, the sea, and the sky. Then they let off a 
four-inch gun directly under my feet. I thought 
it turned me a back-somersault. That was the 
effect upon my mind. But it appears I did 
not move. The shell went carousing off to 
the Cuban shore, and from the vegetation there 
spirted a cloud of dust. Some of the officers on 
the quarter-deck laughed. Through their glasses 
they had seen a Spanish column of cavalry much 
agitated by the appearance of this shell among 
them. As far as I was concerned, there was noth- 
ing but the spirt of dust from the side of a long- 
suffering island. When I returned to my coffee 
I found that most of the young officers had also 
returned. Japanese boys were bringing liquors. 


The piano's clattering of the popular air was often 
interrupted by the boom of a four-inch gun. A 
bunch of bananas ! 

One day, our despatch-boat found the shores 
of Guantanamo Bay flowing past on either side. 
It was at nightfall and on the eastward point a 
small village was burning, and it happened that 
a fiery light was thrown upon some palm-trees 
so that it made them into enormous crimson 
feathers. The water was the colour of blue steel ; 
the Cuban woods were sombre ; high shivered the 
gory feathers. The last boatloads of the marine 
battalion were pulling for the beach. The marine 
officers gave me generous hospitality to the camp 
on the hill. That night there was an alarm and 
amid a stern calling of orders and a rushing of 
men, I wandered in search of some other man who 
had no occupation. It turned out to be the 
young assistant surgeon, Gibbs. We foregathered 
in the centre of a square of six companies of 
marines. There was no firing. We thought it 
rather comic. The next night there was an alarm ; 
there was some firing ; we lay on our bellies ; it 
was no longer comic. On the third night the 
alarm came early ; I went in search of Gibbs, but 
I soon gave over an active search for the more 
congenial occupation of lying flat and feeling the 


hot hiss of the bullets trying to cut my hair. For 
the moment I was no longer a cynic. I was a 
child who, in a fit of ignorance, had jumped into 
the vat of war. I heard somebody dying near 
me. He was dying hard. Hard. It took him a 
long time to die. He breathed as all noble ma- 
chinery breathes when it is making its gallant 
strife against breaking, breaking. But he was 
going to break. He was going to break. It 
seemed to me, this breathing, the noise of a heroic 
pump which strives to subdue a mud which comes 
upon it in tons. The darkness was impenetrable. 
The man was lying in some depression within 
seven feet of me. Every wave, vibration, of his 
anguish beat upon my senses. He was long past 
groaning. There was only the bitter strife for air 
which pulsed out into the night in a clear pene- 
trating whistle with intervals of terrible silence in 
which I held my own breath in the common un- 
conscious aspiration to help. I thought this man 
would never die. I wanted him to die. Ulti- 
mately he died. At the moment the adjutant 
came bustling along erect amid the spitting bul- 
lets. I knew him by his voice. " Where's the 
doctor ? There's some wounded men over there. 
Where's the doctor ? " A man answered briskly : 
" Just died this minute, sir." It was as if he had 


said : " Just gone around the corner this minute, 
sir." Despite the horror of this night's business, 
the man's mind was somehow influenced by the 
coincidence of the adjutant's calling aloud for the 
doctor within a few seconds of the doctor's death. 
It what shall I say? It interested him, this 

The day broke by inches, with an obvious and 
maddening reluctance. From some unfathomable 
source I procured an opinion that my friend was 
not dead at all the wild and quivering darkness 
had caused me to misinterpret a few shouted 
words. At length the land brightened in a vio- 
lent atmosphere, the perfect dawning of a tropic 
day, and in this light I saw a clump of men near 
me. At first I thought they were all dead. Then 
I thought they were all asleep. The truth was 
that a group of wan-faced, exhausted men had gone 
to sleep about Gibbs* body so closely and in such 
abandoned attitudes that one's eye could not pick 
the living from the dead until one saw that a cer- 
tain head had beneath it a great dark pool. 

In the afternoon a lot of men went bathing, and 
in the midst of this festivity firing was resumed. 
It was funny to see the men come scampering out 
of the water, grab at their rifles and go into action 
attired in nought but their cartridge-belts. The 


attack of the Spaniards had interrupted in some 
degree the services over the graves of Gibbs and 
some others. I remember Paine came ashore 
with a bottle of whisky which I took from him 
violently. My faithful shooting boots began to 
hurt me, and I went to the beach and poulticed 
my feet in wet clay, sitting on the little rickety 
pier near where the corrugated iron cable-station 
showed how the shells slivered through it. Some 
marines, desirous of mementoes, were poking 
with sticks in the smoking ruins of the hamlet. 
Down in the shallow water crabs were meander- 
ing among the weeds, and little fishes moved 
slowly in schools. 

The next day we went shooting. It was exactly 
like quail shooting. I'll tell you. These guer- 
illas who so cursed our lives had a well some five 
miles away, and it was the only water supply 
within about twelve miles of the marine camp. It 
was decided that it would be correct to go forth 
and destroy the well. Captain Elliott, of C com- 
pany, was to take his men with Captain Spicer's 
company, D, out to the well, beat the enemy 
away and destroy everything. He was to start 
at the next daybreak. He asked me if I cared to 
go, and, of course, I accepted with glee ; but all 
that night I was afraid. Bitterly afraid. The 


moon was very bright, shedding a magnificent 
radiance upon the trenches. I watched the men 
of C and D companies lying so tranquilly some 
snoring, confound them whereas I was certain 
that I could never sleep with the weight of a 
coming battle upon my mind, a battle in which 
the poor life of a war-correspondent might easily 
be taken by a careless enemy. But if I was 
frightened I was also very cold. It was a chill 
night and I wanted a heavy top-coat almost as 
much as I wanted a certificate of immunity from 
rifle bullets. These two feelings were of equal 
importance to my mind. They were twins. El- 
liott came and flung a tent-fly over Lieutenant 
Bannon and me as we lay on the ground back of 
the men. Then I was no longer cold, but I was 
still afraid, for tent-flies cannot mend a fear. In 
the morning I wished for some mild attack of dis- 
ease, something that would incapacitate me for 
the business of going out gratuitously to be bom- 
barded. But I was in an awkwardly healthy state, 
and so I must needs smile and look pleased with 
my prospects. We were to be guided by fifty 
Cubans, and I gave up all dreams of a postpone- 
ment when I saw them shambling off in single 
file through the cactus. We followed presently. 

" Where you people goin' to ? " " Don't know, 


Jim." "Well, good luck to you, boys.'* This 
was the world's lazy inquiry and conventional 
God-speed. Then the mysterious wilderness 
swallowed us. 

The men were silent because they were ordered 
to be silent, but whatever faces I could observe 
were marked with a look of serious meditation. 
As they trudged slowly in single file they were 
reflecting upon what ? I don't know. But at 
length we came to ground more open. The sea 
appeared on our right, and we saw the gunboat 
Dolphin steaming along in a line parallel to ours. 
I was as glad to see her as if she had called out 
my name. The trail wound about the bases of 
some high bare spurs. If the Spaniards had occu- 
pied them I don't see how we could have gone 
further. But upon them were only the dove- 
voiced guerilla scouts calling back into the hills 
the news of our approach. The effect of sound is 
of course relative. I am sure I have never heard 
such a horrible sound as the beautiful cooing of 
the wood-dove when I was certain that it came 
from the yellow throat of a guerilla. Elliott sent 
Lieutenant Lucas with his platoon to ascend the 
hills and cover our advance by the trail. We 
halted and watched them climb, a long black 
streak of men in the vivid sunshine of the hill- 


side. We did not know how tall were these hills 
until we saw Lucas and his men on top, and they 
were no larger than specks. We marched on 
until, at last, we heard it seemed in the sky 
the sputter of firing. This devil's dance was be- 
gun. The proper strategic movement to cover 
the crisis seemed to me to be to run away home 
and swear I had never started on this expedition. 
But Elliott yelled : " Now, men ; straight up this 
hill." The men charged up against the cactus, 
and, because I cared for the opinion of others, I 
found myself tagging along close at Elliott's heels. 
I don't know how I got up that hill, but I think 
it was because I was afraid to be left behind. The 
immediate rear did not look safe. The crowd of 
strong young marines afforded the only spectacle 
of provisional security. So I tagged along at 
Elliott's heels. The hill was as steep as a Swiss 
roof. From it sprang out great pillars of cactus, 
and the human instinct was to assist one's self in 
the ascent by grasping cactus with one's hands. 
I remember the watch I had to keep upon this 
human instinct even when the sound of the bullets 
was attracting my nervous attention. However, 
the attractive thing to my sense at the time was 
the fact that every man of the marines was also 
climbing away like mad. It was one thing for 


Elliott, Spicer, Neville, Shaw and Bannon ; it was 
another thing for me ; but what in the devil was 
it to the men ? Not the same thing surely. It 
was perfectly easy for any marine to get overcome 
by the burning heat and, lying down, bequeath 
the work and the danger to his comrades. The 
fine thing about " the men " is that you can't ex- 
plain them. I mean when you take them collect- 
ively. They do a thing, and afterward you find 
that they have done it because they have done it. 
However, when Elliott arrived at the top of the 
ridge, myself and many other men were with him. 
But there was no battle scene. Off on another 
ridge we could see Lucas* men and the Cubans 
peppering away into a valley. The bullets about 
our ears were really intended to lodge in them. 
We went over there. 

I walked along the firing line and looked at the 
men. I kept somewhat on what I shall call the 
lee side of the ridge. Why ? Because I was 
afraid of being shot. No other reason. Most of 
the men as they lay flat, shooting, looked con- 
tented, almost happy. They were pleased, these 
men, at the situation. I don't know. I cannot 
imagine. But they were pleased, at any rate. I 
wasn't pleased. I was picturing defeat. I was 
saying to myself : " Now if the enemy should 


suddenly do so-and-so, or so-and-so, why what 
would become of me?" During these first few 
moments I did not see the Spanish position be- 
cause I was afraid to look at it. Bullets were 
hissing and spitting over the crest of the ridge in 
such showers as to make observation to be a task 
for a brave man. No, now, look here, why the 
deuce should I have stuck my head up, eh ? Why ? 
Well, at any rate, I didn't until it seemed to be a 
far less thing than most of the men were doing as 
if they liked it. Then I saw nothing. At least 
it was only the bottom of a small valley. In this 
valley there was a thicket a big thicket and 
this thicket seemed to be crowded with a myste- 
rious class of persons who were evidently trying to 
kill us. Our enemies ? Yes perhaps I suppose 
so. Leave that to the people in the streets at 
home. They know and cry against the public 
enemy, but when men go into actual battle not 
one in a thousand concerns himself with an animus 
against the men who face him. The great desire 
is to beat them beat them whoever they are as a 
matter, first, of personal safety, second, of personal 
glory. It is always safest to make the other chap 
quickly run away. And as he runs away, one 
feels, as one tries to hit him in the back and 
knock him sprawling, that he must be a very good 


and sensible fellow. But these people apparently 
did not mean to run away. They clung to their 
thicket and, amid the roar of the firing, one could 
sometimes hear their wild yells of insult and de- 
fiance. They were actually the most obstinate, 
headstrong, mulish people that you could ever im- 
agine. The Dolphin was throwing shells into their 
immediate vicinity and the fire from the marines 
and Cubans was very rapid and heavy, but still 
those incomprehensible mortals remained in their 
thicket. The scene on the top of the ridge was 
very wild, but there was only one truly romantic 
figure. This was a Cuban officer who held in one 
hand a great glittering machete and in the other 
a cocked revolver. He posed like a statue of 
victory. Afterwards he confessed to me that he 
alone had been responsible for the winning of the 
fight. But outside of this splendid person it was 
simply a picture of men at work, men terribly 
hard at work, red-faced, sweating, gasping toilers. 
A Cuban negro soldier was shot though the 
heart and one man took the body on his back and 
another took it by its feet and trundled away to- 
ward the rear looking precisely like a wheel- 
barrow. A man in C company was shot through 
the ankle and he sat behind the line nursing his 
wound. Apparently he was pleased with it. It 


seemed to suit him. I don't know why. But 
beside him sat a comrade with a face drawn, 
solemn and responsible like that of a New Eng- 
land spinster at the bedside of a sick child. 

The fight banged away with a roar like a forest 
fire. Suddenly a marine wriggled out of the firing 
line and came frantically to me. " Say, young 
feller, I'll give you five dollars for a drink of 
whisky." He tried to force into my hand a gold 
piece. " Go to the devil," said I, deeply scandal- 
ised. " Besides, I haven't got any whisky," 
" No, but look here," he beseeched me. " If I 
don't get a drink I'll die. And I'll give you five 
dollars for it. Honest, I will." I finally tried to 
escape from him by walking away, but he followed 
at my heels, importuning me with all the exasper- 
ating persistence of a professional beggar and try- 
ing to force this ghastly gold piece into my hand. 
I could not shake him off, and amid that clatter 
of furious fighting I found myself intensely em- 
barrassed, and glancing fearfully this way and that 
way to make sure that people did not see me, the 
villain and his gold. In vain I assured him that 
if I had any whisky I should place it at his dis- 
posal. He could not be turned away. I thought 
of the European expedient in such a crisis to 
jump in a cab. But unfortunately In the 


meantime I had given up my occupation of tag- 
ging at Captain Elliott's heels, because his business 
required that he should go into places of great 
danger. But from time to time I was under his 
attention. Once he turned to me and said : " Mr. 
Vernall, will you go and satisfy yourself who those 
people are ? " Some men had appeared on a hill 
about six hundred yards from our left flank. 
" Yes, sir," cried I with, I assure you, the finest 
alacrity and cheerfulness, and my tone proved to 
me that I had inherited histrionic abilities. This 
tone was of course a black lie, but I went off 
briskly and was as jaunty as a real soldier while 
all the time my heart was in my boots and I was 
cursing the day that saw me landed on the shores 
of the tragic isle. If the men on the distant hill 
had been guerillas, my future might have been 
seriously jeopardised, but I had not gone far toward 
them when I was able to recognise the uniforms 
of the marine corps. Whereupon I scampered 
back to the firing line and with the same alacrity 
and cheerfulness reported my information. I 
mention to you that I was afraid, because there 
were about me that day many men who did not 
seem to be afraid at all, men with quiet, composed 
faces who went about this business as if they pro- 
ceeded from a sense of habit. They were not old 


soldiers ; they were mainly recruits, but many of 
them betrayed all the emotion and merely the 
emotion that one sees in the face of a man ear- 
nestly at work. 

I don't know how long the action lasted. I re- 
member deciding in my own mind that the Span- 
iards stood forty minutes. This was a mere 
arbitrary decision based on nothing. But at any 
rate we finally arrived at the satisfactory moment 
when the enemy began to run away. I shall 
never forget how my courage increased. And 
then began the great bird shooting. From the 
far side of the thicket arose an easy slope covered 
with plum-coloured bush. The Spaniards broke 
in coveys of from six to fifteen men or birds 
and swarmed up this slope. The marines on our 
ridge then had some fine, open field shooting. No 
charge could be made because the shells from the 
Dolphin were helping the Spaniards to evacuate 
the thicket, so the marines had to be content with 
this extraordinary paraphrase of a kind of sport. 
It was strangely like the original. The shells 
from the Dolphin were the dogs ; dogs who went 
in and stirred out the game. The marines were 
suddenly gentlemen in leggings, alive with the 
sharp instinct which marks the hunter. The 
Spaniards were the birds. Yes, they were the 


birds, but I doubt if they would sympathise with 
my metaphors. 

We destroyed their camp, and when the tiled 
roof of a burning house fell with a crash it was so 
like the crash of a strong volley of musketry that 
we all turned with a start, fearing that we would 
have to fight again on that same day. And this 
struck me at least as being an impossible thing. 
They gave us water from the Dolphin and we 
filled our canteens. None of the men were par- 
ticularly jubilant. They did not altogether appre- 
ciate their victory. They were occupied in being 
glad that the fight was over. I discovered to my 
amazement that we were on the summit of a hill 
so high that our released eyes seemed to sweep 
over half the world. The vast stretch of sea 
shimmering like fragile blue silk in the breeze, lost 
itself ultimately in an indefinite pink haze, while 
in the other direction, ridge after ridge, ridge after 
ridge, rolled brown and arid into the north. The 
battle had been fought high in the air where the 
rain clouds might have been. That is why every- 
body's face was the colour of beetroot and men lay 
on the ground and only swore feebly when the 
cactus spurs sank into them. 

Finally we started for camp. Leaving our 
wounded, our cactus pincushions, and our heat- 


prostrated men on board the Dolphin. I did not 
see that the men were elate or even grinning with 
satisfaction. They seemed only anxious to get to 
food and rest. And yet it was plain that Elliott 
and his men had performed a service that would 
prove invaluable to the security and comfort of 
the entire battalion. They had driven the guer- 
illas to take a road along which they would have 
to proceed for fifteen miles before they could get 
as much water as would wet the point of a pin. 
And by the destruction of a well at the scene of 
the fight, Elliott made an arid zone almost twenty 
miles wide between the enemy and the base camp. 
In Cuba this is the best of protections. However, 
a cup of coffee ! Time enough to think of a bril- 
liant success after one had had a cup of coffee. 
The long line plodded wearily through the dusky 
jungle which was never again to be alive with 

It was dark when we stumbled into camp, and 
I was sad with an ungovernable sadness, because 
I was too tired to remember where I had left my 
kit. But some of my colleagues were waiting on 
the beach, and they put me on a despatch-boat to 
take my news to a Jamaica cable-station. The 
appearance of this despatch-boat struck me with 
wonder. It was reminiscent of something with 


which I had been familiar in early years. I looked 
with dull surprise at three men of the engine-room 
force, who sat aft on some bags of coal smoking 
their pipes and talking as if there had never been 
any battles fought anywhere. The sudden clang 
of the gong made me start and listen eagerly, as 
if I would be asking : " What was that ? " The 
chunking of the screw affected me also, but I 
seemed to relate it to a former and pleasing ex- 
perience. One of the correspondents on board 
immediately began to tell me of the chief engineer, 
who, he said, was a comic old character. I was 
taken to see this marvel, which presented itself as 
a gray-bearded man with an oil can, who had the 
cynical, malicious, egotistic eye of proclaimed and 
admired ignorance. I looked dazedly at the ven- 
erable impostor. What had he to do with battles 
the humming click of. the locks, the odour of 
burnt cotton, the bullets, the firing ? My friend 
told the scoundrel that I was just returned from 
the afternoon's action. He said : " That so ? " 
And looked at me with a smile, faintly, faintly 
derisive. You see ? I had just come out of my 
life's most fiery time, and that old devil looked at 
me with that smile. What colossal conceit. The 
four-times-damned doddering old head-mechanic 
of a derelict junk shop. The whole trouble lay in 


the fact that I had not shouted out with mingled 
awe and joy as he stood there in his wisdom and 
experience, with all his ancient saws and home- 
made epigrams ready to fire. 

My friend took me to the cabin. What a 
squalid hole! My heart sank. The reward after 
the labour should have been a great airy chamber, 
a gigantic four-poster, iced melons, grilled birds, 
wine, and the delighted attendance of my friends. 
When I had finished my cablegram, I retired to a 
little shelf of a berth, which reeked of oil, while 
the blankets had soaked recently with sea-water. 
The vessel heeled to leaward in spasmodic at- 
tempts to hurl me out, and I resisted with the last 
of my strength. The infamous pettiness of it all ! 
I thought the night would never end. " But never 
mind," I said to myself at last, " to-morrow in 
Fort Antonio I shall have a great bath and fine 
raiment, and I shall dine grandly and there will be 
lager beer on ice. And there will be attendants 
to run when I touch a bell, and I shall catch every 
interested romantist in the town, and spin him the 
story of the fight at Cusco." We reached Fort 
Antonio and I fled from the cable office to the 
hotel. I procured the bath and, as I donned what- 
ever fine raiment I had foraged, I called the boy 
and pompously told him of a dinner a real dinner, 


with furbelows and complications, and yet with a 
basis of sincerity. He looked at me calf-like for 
a moment, and then he went away. After a long 
interval, the manager himself appeared and asked 
me some questions which led me to see that he 
thought I had attempted to undermine and dis- 
integrate the intellect of the boy, by the elocution 
of Arabic incantations. Well, never mind. In 
the end, the manager of the hotel elicited from 
me that great cry, that cry which during the war, 
rang piteously from thousands of throats, that 
last grand cry of anguish and despair : " Well, then, 
in the name of God, can I have a cold bottle of 

Well, you see to what war brings men ? War 
is death, and a plague of the lack of small things, 
and toil. Nor did I catch my sentimentalists and 
pour forth my tale to them, and thrill, appal, 
and fascinate them. However, they did feel an 
interest in me, for I heard a lady at the hotel ask : 
" Who is that chap in the very dirty jack-boots ? " 
So you see, that whereas you can be very much 
frightened upon going into action, you can also 
be greatly annoyed after you have come out. 

Later, I fell into the hands of one of my closest 
friends, and he mercilessly outlined a scheme for 
landing to the west of Santiago and getting 


through the Spanish lines to some place from which 
we could view the Spanish squadron lying in the 
harbour. There was rumour that the Viscaya had 
escaped, he said, and it would be very nice to 
make sure of the truth. So we steamed to a 
point opposite a Cuban camp which my friend 
knew, and flung two crop-tailed Jamaica polo po- 
nies into the sea. We followed in a small boat 
and were met on the beach by a small Cuban de- 
tachment who immediately caught our ponies and 
saddled them for us. I suppose we felt rather 
god-like. We were almost the first Americans 
they had seen and they looked at us with eyes of 
grateful affection. I don't suppose many men 
have the experience of being looked at with eyes 
of grateful affection. They guide us to a Cuban 
camp where, in a little palm-bark hut, a black- 
faced lieutenant-colonel was lolling in a ham- 
mock. I couldn't understand what was said, but 
at any rate he must have ordered his half-naked 
orderly to make coffee, for it was done. It was a 
dark syrup in smoky tin-cups, but it was better 
than the cold bottle of beer which I did not drink 
in Jamaica. 

The Cuban camp was an expeditious affair of 
saplings and palm-bark tied with creepers. It 
could be burned to the ground in fifteen minutes 


and in ten reduplicated. The soldiers were in ap- 
pearance an absolutely good-natured set of half- 
starved ragamuffins. Their breeches hung in 
threads about their black legs and their shirts 
were as nothing. They looked like a collection 
of real tropic savages at whom some philanthropist 
had flung a bundle of rags and some of the rags 
had stuck here and there. But their condition 
was now a habit. I doubt if they knew they 
were half-naked. Anyhow they didn't care. No 
more they should ; the weather was warm. This 
lieutenant-colonel gave us an escort of five or six 
men and we went up into the mountains, lying 
flat on our Jamaica ponies while they went like 
rats up and down extraordinary trails. In the 
evening we reached the camp of a major who 
commanded the outposts. It was high, high in 
the hills. The stars were as big as cocoanuts. 
We lay in borrowed hammocks and watched the 
firelight gleam blood-red on the trees. I remem- 
ber an utterly naked negro squatting, crimson, by 
the fire and cleaning an iron-pot. Some voices 
were singing an Afric wail of forsaken love and 
death. And at dawn we were to try to steal 
through the Spanish lines. I was very, very sorry. 
In the cold dawn the situation was the same, 
but somehow courage seemed to be in the break- 


ing day. I went off with the others quite cheer- 
fully. We came to where the pickets stood be- 
hind bulwarks of stone in frameworks of saplings. 
They were peering across a narrow cloud-steeped 
gulch at a dull fire marking a Spanish post. 
There was some palaver and then, with fifteen 
men, we descended the side of this mountain, 
going down into the chill blue-and-grey clouds. 
We had left our horses with the Cuban pickets. 
We proceeded stealthily, for we were already 
within range of the Spanish pickets. At the 
bottom of the canon it was still night. A brook, 
a regular salmon-stream, brawled over the rocks. 
There were grassy banks and most delightful trees. 
The whole valley was a sylvan fragrance. But 
the guide waved his arm and scowled warningly, 
and in a moment we were off, threading thickets, 
climbing hills, crawling through fields on our 
hands and knees, sometimes sweeping like seven- 
teen phantoms across a Spanish road. I was in a 
dream, but I kept my eye on the guide and halted 
to listen when he halted to listen and ambled on- 
ward when he ambled onward. Sometimes he 
turned and pantomimed as ably and fiercely as a 
man being stung by a thousand hornets. Then 
we knew that the situation was extremely delicate. 

We were now of course well inside the Spanish 


lines and we ascended a great hill which over- 
looked the harbour of Santiago. There, tranquilly 
at anchor, lay the Oquendo, the Maria Theresa, 
the Christobal Colon, the Viscaya, the Pluton, the 
Furor. The bay was white in the sun and the 
great blacked-hull armoured cruisers were impres- 
sive in a dignity massive yet graceful. We did 
not know that they were all doomed ships, soon 
to go out to a swift death. My friend drew maps 
and things while I devoted myself to complete 
rest, blinking lazily at the Spanish squadron. We 
did not know that we were the last Americans to 
view them alive and unhurt and at peace. Then 
we retraced our way, at the same noiseless canter. 
I did not understand my condition until I con- 
sidered that we were well through the Spanish 
lines and practically out of danger. Then I dis- 
covered that I was a dead man. The nervous 
force having evaporated I was a mere corpse. 
My limbs were of dough and my spinal cord 
burned within me as if it were red-hot wire. But 
just at this time we were discovered by a Spanish 
patrol, and I ascertained that I was not dead at all. 
We ultimately reached the foot of the mother- 
mountain on whose shoulders were the Cuban 
pickets, and here I was so sure of safety that I 
could not resist the temptation to die again. I 


think I passed into eleven distinct stupors during 
the ascent of that mountain while the escort stood 
leaning on their Remingtons. We had done 
twenty-five miles at a sort of a man-gallop, never 
once using a beaten track, but always going pro- 
miscuously through the jungle and over the rocks. 
And many of the miles stood straight on end so 
that it was as hard to come down as it was to go 
up. But during my stupors, the escort stood, mind 
you, and chatted in low voices. For all the signs 
they showed, we might have been starting. And 
they had had nothing to eat but mangoes for 
over eight days. Previous to the eight days they 
had been living on mangoes and the carcase of a 
small lean pony. They were, in fact, of the stuff 
of Fenimore Cooper's Indians, only they made no 
preposterous orations. At the major's camp, my 
friend and I agreed that if our worthy escort 
would send down a representative with us to the 
coast, we would send back to them whatever we 
could spare from the stores of our despatch-boat. 
With one voice the escort answered that they 
themselves would go the additional four leagues, 
as in these starving times they did not care to 
trust a representative, thank you. " They can't 
do it ; they'll peg out ; there must be a limit," I 
said. " No," answered my friend. " They're all 


right ; they'd run three times around the whole 
island for a mouthful of beer." So we saddled 
up and put off with our fifteen Cuban infantrymen 
wagging along tirelessly behind us. Sometimes, 
at the foot of a precipitous hill, a man asked per- 
mission to cling to my horse's tail, and then the 
Jamaica pony would snake him to the summit so 
swiftly that only his toes seemed to touch the 
rocks. And for this assistance the man was grate- 
ful. When we crowned the last great ridge we 
saw our squadron to the eastward spread in its 
patient semicircular about the mouth of the har- 
bour. But as we wound towards the beach we saw 
a more dramatic thing our own despatch-boat 
leaving the rendezvous and putting off to sea. 
Evidently we were late. Behind me were fifteen 
stomachs, empty. It was a frightful situation. 
My friend and I charged for the beach and those 
fifteen fools began to run. 

It was no use. The despatch-boat went gaily 
away trailing black smoke behind her. We 
turned in distress wondering what we could say 
to that abused escort. If they massacred us, I 
felt that it would be merely a virtuous reply to 
fate and they should in no ways be blamed. 
There are some things which a man's feelings will 
not allow him to endure after a diet of mangoes 


and pony. However, we perceived to our amaze- 
ment that they were not indignant at all. They 
simply smiled and made a gesture which expressed 
an habitual pessimism. It was a philosophy 
which denied the existence of everything but 
mangoes and pony. It was the Americans who 
refused to be comforted. I made a deep vow 
with myself that I would come as soon as possible 
and play a regular Santa Claus to that splendid 
escort. But we put to sea in a dug-out with 
two black boys. The escort waved us a hearty 
good-bye from the shore and I never saw them 
again. I hope they are all on the police-force in 
the new Santiago. 

In time we were rescued from the dug-out by 
our despatch-boat, and we relieved our feelings by 
over-rewarding the two black boys. In fact they 
reaped a harvest because of our emotion over our 
failure to fill the gallant stomachs of the escort. 
They were two rascals. We steamed to the flag- 
ship and were given permission to board her. 
Admiral Sampson is to me the most interesting 
personality of the war. I would not know how 
to sketch him for you even if I could pretend to 
sufficient material. Anyhow, imagine, first of all, 
a marble block of impassivity out of which is 
carved the figure of an old man. Endow this 


with life, and you've just begun. Then you 
must discard all your pictures of bluff, red-faced 
old gentlemen who roar against the gale, and un- 
derstand that the quiet old man is a sailor and an 
admiral. This will be difficult ; if I told you he 
was anything else it would be easy. He resembles 
other types ; it is his distinction not to resemble 
the preconceived type of his standing. When first 
I met him I was impressed that he was immensely 
bored by the war and with the command of the 
North Atlantic Squadron. I perceived a manner 
where I thought I perceived a mood, a point of 
view. Later, he seemed so indifferent to small 
things which bore upon large things that I bowed 
to his apathy as a thing unprecedented, marvel- 
lous. Still I mistook a manner for a mood. Still 
I could not understand that this was the way of 
the man. I am not to blame, for my communica- 
tion was slight and depended upon sufferance 
upon, in fact, the traditional courtesy of the navy. 
But finally I saw that it was all manner, that hid- 
den in his indifferent, even apathetic, manner, there 
was the alert, sure, fine mind of the best sea-cap- 
tain that America has produced since since Far- 
ragut ? I don't know. I think since Hull. 

Men follow heartily when they are well led. 
They balk at trifles when a blockhead cries go on. 


For my part, an impressive thing of the war is- 
the absolute devotion to Admiral Sampson's per- 
son no, to his judgment and wisdom which was 
paid by his ship-commanders Evans of the Iowa, 
Taylor of the Oregon, Higginson of the Massachu- 
setts, Phillips of the Texas, and all the other 
captains barring one. Once, 'afterward, they 
called upon him to avenge himself upon a rival 
they were there and they would have to say but 
he said no-o-o, he guessed it wouldn't do any 
g-o-oo-o-d to the service. 

Men feared him, but he never made threats ; 
men tumbled heels over head to obey him, but he 
never gave a sharp order ; men loved him, but he 
said no word, kindly or unkindly ; men cheered 
for him and he said : " Who are they yelling for ? " 
Men behaved badly to him and he said nothing. 
Men thought of glory and he considered the 
management of ships. All without a sound. A 
noiseless campaign on his part. No bunting, no 
arches, no fireworks ; nothing but the perfect 
management of a big fleet. That is a record for 
you. No trumpets, no cheers of the populace. 
Just plain, pure, unsauced accomplishment. But 
ultimately he will reap his reward in in what ? In 
text-books on sea-campaigns. No more. The 
people choose their own and they choose the kind 


they like. Who has a better right ? Anyhow he 
is a great man. And when you are once started 
you can continue to be a great man without the 
help of bouquets and banquets. He don't need 
them bless your heart. 

The flag-ship's battle-hatches were down, and 
between decks it was insufferable despite the elec- 
tric fans. I made my way somewhat forwards, 
past the smart orderly, past the companion, on to 
the den of the junior mess. Even there they 
were playing cards in somebody's cabin. " Hello, 
old man. Been ashore? How'd it look? It's 
your deal, Chick." There was nothing but 
steamy wet heat and the decent suppression of 
the consequent ill-tempers. The junior officers* 
quarters were no more comfortable than the ad- 
miral's cabin. I had expected it to be so because 
of my remembrance of their gay spirits. But 
they were not gay. They were sweltering. 
Hello, old man, had I been ashore ? I fled to 
the deck, where other officers not on duty were 
smoking quiet cigars. The hospitality of the 
officers of the flag-ship is another charming mem- 
ory of the war. 

I rolled into my berth on the despatch-boat that 
night feeling a perfect wonder of the day. Was 
the figure that leaned over the card-game on the 


flag-ship, the figure with a whisky and soda in its 
hand and a cigar in its teeth was it identical with 
the figure scrambling, afraid of its life, through 
Cuban jungle? Was it the figure of the situation 
of the fifteen pathetic hungry men ? It was the 
same and it went to sleep, hard sleep. I don't 
know where we voyaged. I think it was Jamaica. 
But, at any rate, upon the morning of our return to 
the Cuban coast, we found the sea alive with trans- 
ports United States transports from Tampa, 
containing the Fifth Army Corps under Major- 
General Shafter. The rigging and the decks of 
these ships were black with men and everybody 
wanted to land first. I landed, ultimately, and 
immediately began to look for an acquaintance. 
The boats were banged by the waves against a 
little flimsy dock. I fell ashore somehow, but I 
did not at once find an acquaintance. I talked to 
a private in the 2d Massachusetts Volunteers 
who told me that he was going to write war cor- 
respondence for a Boston newspaper. This state- 
ment did not surprise me. 

There was a straggly village, but I followed the 
troops who at this time seemed to be moving out 
by companies. I found three other correspond- 
ents and it was luncheon time. Somebody had 
two bottles of Bass, but it was so warm that it 


squirted out in foam. There was no firing ; no 
noise of any kind. An old shed was full of sol- 
diers loafing pleasantly in the shade. It was a 
hot, dusty, sleepy afternoon ; bees hummed. We 
saw Major-General Lawton standing with his staff 
under a tree. He was smiling as if he would say : 
" Well, this will be better than chasing Apaches." 
His division had the advance, and so he had the 
right to be happy. A tall man with a grey mous- 
tache, light but very strong, an ideal cavalryman. 
He appealed to one all the more because of the 
vague rumours that his superiors some of them 
were going to take mighty good care that he 
shouldn't get much to do. It was rather sickening 
to hear such talk, but later we knew that most of 
it must have been mere lies. 

Down by the landing-place a band of corre- 
spondents were making a sort of permanent camp. 
They worked like Trojans, carrying wall-tents, 
cots, and boxes of provisions. They asked me to 
join them, but I looked shrewdly at the sweat on 
their faces and backed away. The next day the 
army left this permanent camp eight miles to the 
rear. The day became tedious. I was glad when 
evening came. I sat by a camp-fire and listened 
to a soldier of the 8th Infantry who told me that 
he was the first enlisted man to land. I lay pre- 


tending to appreciate him, but in fact I considered 
him a great shameless liar. Less than a month 
ago, I learned that every word he said was gospel 
truth. I was much surprised. We went for 
breakfast to the camp of the 2Oth Infantry, where 
Captain Greene and his subaltern, Exton, gave us 
tomatoes stewed with hard bread and coffee. 
Later, I discovered Greene and Exton down at the 
beach good-naturedly dodging the waves which 
seemed to be trying to prevent them from wash- 
ing the breakfast dishes. I felt tremendously 
ashamed because my cup and my plate were there, 

you know, and Fate provides some men 

greased opportunities for making dizzy jackasses 
of themselves and I fell a victim to my flurry on 
this occasion. I was a blockhead. I walked away 
blushing. What ? The battles ? Yes, I saw 
something of all of them. I made up my mind 
that the next time I met Greene and Exton I'd 
say : " Look here ; why didn't you tell me you 
had to wash your own dishes that morning so that 
I could have helped ? I felt beastly when I saw 
you scrubbing there. And me walking around 
idly." But I never saw Captain Greene again. 
I think he is in the Philippines now fighting the 
Tagals. The next time I saw Exton what ? 
Yes, La Guasimas. That was the " rough rider 


fight." However, the next time I saw Exton I 
what do you think ? I forgot to speak about it. 
But if ever I meet Greene or Exton again even 
if it should be twenty years I am going to say, 

first thing : " Why " What? Yes. Roosevelt's 

regiment and the First and Tenth Regular Cav- 
alry. I'll say, first thing: " Say, why didn't you 
tell me you had to wash your own dishes, that 
morning, so that I could have helped ? " My 
stupidity will be on my conscience until I die, if, 
before that, I do not meet either Greene or Exton. 
Oh, yes, you are howling for blood, but I tell you it 
is more emphatic that I lost my tooth-brush. Did 
I tell you that ? Well, I lost it, you see, and I 
thought of it for ten hours at a stretch. Oh, yes 
he? He was shot through the heart. But, 
look here, I contend that the French cable com- 
pany buncoed us throughout the war. What ? 
Him ? My tooth-brush I never found, but he died 
of his wound in time. Most of the regular soldiers 
carried their tooth-brushes stuck in the bands of 
their hats. It made a quaint military decoration. 
I have had a line of a thousand men pass me in 
the jungle and not a hat lacking the simple 

The first of July? All right. My Jamaica 
polo-pony was not present. He was still in the 


hills to the westward of Santiago, but the Cubans 
had promised to fetch him to me. But my kit 
was easy to carry. It had nothing superfluous in 
it but a pair of spurs which made me indignant 
every time I looked at them. Oh, but I must tell 
you about a man I met directly after the La 
Guasimas fight. Edward Marshall, a correspond- 
ent whom I had known with a degree of intimacy 
for seven years, was terribly hit in that fight and 
asked me if I would not go to Siboney the base 
and convey the news to his colleagues of the 
New York Journal and round up some assistance. 
I went to Siboney, and there was not a Journal 
man to be seen, although usually you judged from 
appearances that the Journal staff was about as 
large as the army. Presently I met two corre- 
spondents, strangers to me, but I questioned 
them, saying that Marshall was badly shot and 
wished for such succour as Journal men could 
bring from their despatch-boat. And one of 
these correspondents replied. He is the man I 
wanted to describe. I love him as a brother. He 
said: " Marshall ? Marshall? Why, Marshall 
isn't in Cuba at all. He left for New York just be- 
fore the expedition sailed from Tampa." I said : 
" Beg pardon, but I remarked that Marshall was 
shot in the fight this morning, and have you seen 


any Journal people ? " After a pause, he said : 
" I am sure Marshall is not down here at all. He's 
in New York." I said : " Pardon me, but I re- 
marked that Marshall was shot in the fight this 
morning, and have you seen any Journal people ? " 
He said: " No ; now look here, you must have 
gotten two chaps mixed somehow. Marshall isn't 
in Cuba at all. How could he be shot ? " I said : 
" Pardon me, but I remarked that Marshall was 
shot in the fight this morning, and have you seen 
any Journal people?" He said: " But it can't 
really be Marshall, you know, for the simple 
reason that he's not down here." I clasped my 
hands to my temples, gave one piercing cry to 
heaven and fled from his presence. I couldn't 
go on with him. He excelled me at all points. 
I have faced death by bullets, fire, water, and dis- 
ease, but to die thus to wilfully batter myself 
against the ironclad opinion of this mummy no, 
no, not that. In the meantime, it was admitted 
that a correspondent was shot, be his name Mar- 
shall, Bismarck, or Louis XIV. Now, supposing 
the name of this wounded correspondent had 
been Bishop Potter ? Or Jane Austen ? Or Bern- 
hardt ? Or Henri Georges Stephane Adolphe 
Opper de Blowitz ? What effect never mind. 
We will proceed to July 1st. On that morning 


I marched with my kit having everything essen- 
tial save a tooth-brush the entire army put 
me to shame, since there must have been at 
least fifteen thousand tooth-brushes in the in- 
vading force I marched with my kit on the road 
to Santiago. It was a fine morning and every- 
body the doomed and the immunes how could 
we tell one from the other everybody was in 
the highest spirits. We were enveloped in forest, 
but we could hear, from ahead, everybody pepper- 
ing away at everybody. It was like the roll of 
many drums. This was Lawton over at El Caney. 
I reflected with complacency that Lawton's divi- 
sion did not concern me in a professional way. 
That was the affair of another man. My business 
was with Kent's division and Wheeler's division. 
We came to El Poso a hill at nice artillery range 
from the Spanish defences. Here Grimes's bat- 
tery was shooting a duel with one of the enemy's 
batteries. Scovel had established a little camp in 
the rear of the guns and a servant had made cof- 
fee. I invited Whigham to have coffee, and the 
servant added some hard biscuit and tinned 
tongue. I noted that Whigham was staring 
fixedly over my shoulder, and that he waved away 
the tinned tongue with some bitterness. It was 
a horse, a dead horse. Then a mule, which had 


been shot through the nose, wandered up and 
looked at Whigham. We ran away. 

On top of the hill one had a fine view of 
the Spanish lines. We stared across almost 
a mile of jungle to ash-coloured trenches on 
the military crest of the ridge. A goodly 
distance back of this position were white build- 
ings, all flying great red-cross flags. The jungle 
beneath us rattled with firing and the Spanish 
trenches crackled out regular volleys, but all 
this 1 time there was nothing to indicate a tan- 
gible enemy. In truth, there was a man in a 
Panama hat strolling to and fro behind one of the 
Spanish trenches, gesticulating at times with a 
walking stick. A man in a Panama hat, walking 
with a stick ! That was the strangest sight of 
my life that symbol, that quaint figure of Mars. 
The battle, the thunderous row, was his posses- 
sion. He was the master. He mystified us all 
with his infernal Panama hat and his wretched 
walking-stick. From near his feet came volleys 
and from near his side came roaring shells, but 
he stood there alone, visible, the one tangible 
thing. He was a Colossus, and he was half as 
high as a pin, this being. Always somebody 
would be saying : " Who can that fellow be ? " 

Later, the American guns shelled the trenches 


and a blockhouse near them, and Mars had van- 
ished. It could not have been death. One can- 
not kill Mars. But there was one other figure, 
which arose to symbolic dignity. The balloon of 
our signal corps had swung over the tops of the 
jungle's trees toward the Spanish trenches. Where- 
at the balloon and the man in the Panama hat and 
with a walking stick whereat these two waged 
tremendous battle. 

Suddenly the conflict became a human thing. 
A little group of blue figures appeared on the 
green of the terrible hillside. It was some of our 
infantry. The attach^ of a great empire was at 
my shoulder, and he turned to me and spoke with 
incredulity and scorn. " Why, they're trying to 
take the position," he cried, and I admitted meek- 
ly that I thought they were. " But they can't do 
it, you know," he protested vehemently. " It's 
impossible." And good fellow that he was he 
began to grieve and wail over a useless sacrifice of 
gallant men. " It's plucky, you know ! By 
Gawd, it's plucky ! But they cant do it! " He 
was profoundly moved ; his voice was quite 
broken. " It will simply be a hell of a slaughter 
with no good coming out of it." 

The trail was already crowded with stretcher- 
bearers and with wounded men who could walk. 


One had to stem a tide of mute agony. But I 
don't know that it was mute agony. I only 
know that it was mute. It was something in which 
the silence or, more likely, the reticence was an 
appalling and inexplicable fact. One's senses 
seemed to demand that these men should cry out. 
But you could really find wounded men who ex- 
hibited all the signs of a pleased and contented 
mood. When thinking of it now it seems strange 
beyond words. But at the time I don't know 
it did not attract one's wonder. A man with a 
hole in his arm or his shoulder, or even in the leg 
below the knee, was often whimsical, comic. 
" Well, this ain't exactly what I enlisted for, boys. 
If I'd been told about this in Tampa, Pd have re- 
signed from th' army. Oh, yes, you can get the 
same thing if you keep on going. But I think 
the Spaniards may run out of ammunition in the 
course of a week or ten days." Then suddenly 
one would be confronted by the awful majesty of 
a man shot in the face. Particularly I remember 
one. He had a great dragoon moustache, and 
the blood streamed down his face to meet this 
moustache even as a torrent goes to meet the 
jammed log, and then swarmed out to the tips 
and fell in big slow drops. He looked steadily 
into my eyes ; I was ashamed to return his 


glance. You understand? It is very curious 
all that. 

The two lines of battle were royally whacking 
away at each other, and there was no rest or peace 
in all that region. The modern bullet is a far- 
flying bird. It rakes the air with its hot spitting 
song at distances which, as a usual thing, place the 
whole landscape in the danger-zone. There was 
no direction from which they did not come. A 
chart of their courses over one's head would have 
resembled a spider's web. My friend Jimmie, the 
photographer, mounted to the firing line with me 
and we gallivanted as much as we dared. The 
" sense of the meeting " was curious. Most of 
the men seemed to have no idea of a grand histo- 
ric performance, but they were grimly satisfied 
with themselves. " Well, begawd, we done it." 
Then they wanted to know about other parts of 
the line. "How are things looking, old man? 
Everything all right ? " " Yes, everything is all 
right if you can hold this ridge. v " Aw, hell," 
said the men, " we'll hold the ridge. Don't you 
worry about that, son." 

It was Jimmie's first action, and, as we cau 
tiously were making our way to the right of our 
lines, the crash of the Spanish fire became up- 
roarious, and the air simply whistled. I heard a 


quavering voice near my shoulder, and, turning, I 
beheld Jimmie Jimmie with a face bloodless, 
white as paper. He looked at me with eyes opened 
extremely wide. " Say," he said, " this is pretty 
hot, ain't it ? '' I was delighted. I knew exactly 
what he meant. He wanted to have the situation 
defined. If I had told him that this was the oc- 
casion of some mere idle desultory firing and 
recommended that he wait until the real battle be- 
gan, I think he would have gone in a bee-line for 
the rear. But I told him the truth. "Yes, 
Jimmie," I replied earnestly, "You can take it 
from me that this is patent, double-extra-what- 
for." And immediately he nodded. " All right." 
If this was a big action, then he was willing to pay 
in his fright as a;- rational price for the privilege of 
being present. But if this was only a penny af- 
fray, he considered the price exorbitant, and he 
would go away. He accepted my assurance with 
simple faith, and deported himself with kindly 
dignity as one moving amid great things. His 
face was still as pale as paper, but that counted 
for nothing. The main point was his perfect will- 
ingness to be frightened for reasons. I wonder 
where is Jimmie ? I lent him the Jamaica polo- 
pony one day and it ran away with him and flung 
him off in the middle of a ford. He appeared to 


me afterward and made bitter speech concerning 
this horse which I had assured him was a gentle and 
pious animal. Then I never saw Jimmie again. 

Then came the night of the first of July. A 
group of correspondents limped back to El Poso. 
It had been a day so long that the morning 
seemed as remote as a morning in the previous 
year. But I have forgotten to tell you about 
Reuben McNab. Many years ago, I went to 
school at a place called Claverack, in New York 
State, where there was a semi-military institution. 
Contemporaneous with me, as a student, was 
Reuben McNab, a long, lank boy, freckled, sandy- 
haired an extraordinary boy in no way, and yet, 
I wager, a boy clearly marked in every recollec- 
tion. Perhaps there is a good deal in that name. 
Reuben McNab. You can't fling that name care- 
lessly over your shoulder and lose it. It follows 
you like the haunting memory of a sin. At any 
rate, Reuben McNab was identified intimately in 
my thought with the sunny irresponsible days at 
Claverack, when all the earth was a green field and 
all the sky was a rainless blue. Then I looked 
down into a miserable huddle at Bloody Bend, a 
huddle of hurt men, dying men, dead men. And 
there I saw Reuben McNab, a corporal inthe/ist 
New York Volunteers, and with a hole through 


his lung. Also, several holes through his clothing. 
" Well, they got me," he said in greeting. Usu- 
ally they said that. There were no long speeches. 
"Well, they got me." That was sufficient. The 
duty of the upright, unhurt, man is then difficult. 
I doubt if many of us learned how to speak to our 
own wounded. In the first place, one had to play 
that the wound was nothing ; oh, a mere nothing ; a 
casual interference with movement, perhaps, but 
nothing more ; oh, really nothing more. In the 
second place, one had to show a comrade's appre- 
ciation of this sad plight. As a result I think 
most of us bungled and stammered in the presence 
of our wounded friends. That's curious, eh? 
"Well, they got me," said Reuben McNab. I 
had looked upon five hundred wounded men with 
stolidity, or with a conscious indifference which 
filled me with amazement. But the apparition of 
Reuben McNab, the schoolmate, lying there in 
the mud, with a hole through his lung, awed me 
into stutterings, set me trembling with a sense of 
terrible intimacy with this war which theretofore 
I could have believed was a dream almost. 
Twenty shot men rolled their eyes and looked at 
me. Only one man paid no heed. He was dying; 
he had no time. The bullets hummed low over 
them all. Death, having already struck, still in- 


sisted upon raising a venomous crest. " If you're 
goin' by the hospital, step in and see me," said 
Reuben McNab. That was all. 

At the correspondents' camp, at El Poso, there 
was hot coffee. It was very good. I have a vague 
sense of being very selfish over my blanket and 
rubber coat. I have a vague sense of spasmodic 
firing during my sleep ; it rained, and then I awoke 
to hear that steady drumming of an infantry fire 
something which was never to cease, it seemed. 
They were at it again. The trail from El Poso to 
the positions along San Juan ridge had become 
an exciting thoroughfare. Shots from large-bore 
rifles dropped in from almost every side. At this 
time the safest place was the extreme front. I 
remember in particular the one outcry I heard. 
A private in the 7ist, without his rifle, had gone 
to a stream for some water, and was returning, 
being but a little in rear of me. Suddenly I 
heard this cry " Oh, my God, come quick " and 
I was conscious then to having heard the hateful 
zip of a close shot. He lay on the ground, wrig- 
gling. He was hit in the hip. Two men came 
quickly. Presently everybody seemed to be get- 
ting knocked down. They went over like men of 
wet felt, quietly, calmly, with no more complaint 
than so many automatons. It was only that lad 


" Oh, my God, come quick." Otherwise, men 
seemed to consider that their hurts were not 
worthy of particular attention. A number of peo- 
ple got killed very courteously, tacitly absolving 
the rest of us from any care in the matter. A 
man fell ; he turned blue ; his face took on an ex- 
pression of deep sorrow ; and then his immediate 
friends worried about him, if he had friends. This 
was July i. I crave the permission to leap back 
again to that date. 

On the morning of July 2, I sat on San Juan 
hill and watched Lawton's division come up. I 
was absolutely sheltered, but still where I could 
look into the faces of men who were trotting up 
under fire. There wasn't a high heroic face 
among them. They were all men intent on busi- 
ness. That was all. It may seem to you that I 
am trying to make everything a squalor. That 
would be wrong. I feel that things were often 
sublime. But they were differently sublime. 
They were not of our shallow and preposterous 
fictions. They stood out in a simple, majestic 
commonplace. It was the behaviour of men on 
the street. It was the behaviour of men. In one 
way, each man was just pegging along at the 
heels of the man before him, who was pegging 
along at the heels of still another man, who was 


pegging along at the heels of still another man 
who It was that in the flat and obvious 
way. In another way it was pageantry, the 
pageantry of the accomplishment of naked duty. 
One cannot speak of it the spectacle of the 
common man serenely doing his work, his ap- 
pointed work. It is the one thing in the universe 
which makes one fling expression to the winds 
and be satisfied to simply feel. Thus they moved 
at San Juan the soldiers of the United States 
Regular Army. One pays them the tribute of 
the toast of silence. 

Lying near one of the enemy's trenches was 
a red-headed Spanish corpse. I wonder how 
many hundreds were cognisant of this red-headed 
Spanish corpse ? It arose to the dignity of a 
landmark. There were many corpses but only 
one with a red head. This red-head. He was 
always there. Each time I approached that part 
of the field I prayed that I might find that he 
had been 'buried. But he was always there red- 
headed. His strong simple countenance was a 
malignant sneer at the system which was forever 
killing the credulous peasants in a sort of black 
night of politics, where the peasants merely fol- 
lowed whatever somebody had told them was 
lofty and good. But, nevertheless, the red-headed 


Spaniard was dead. He was irrevocably dead. 
And to what purpose ? The honour of Spain ? 
Surely the honour of Spain could have existed 
without the violent death of this poor red-headed 
peasant ? Ah well, he was buried when the 
heavy firing ceased and men had time for such 
small things as funerals. The trench was turned 
over on top of him. It was a fine, honourable, 
soldierly fate to be buried in a trench, the trench 
of the fight and the death. Sleep well, red- 
headed peasant. You came to another hemis- 
phere to fight because because you were told to, 
I suppose. Well, there you are, buried in your 
trench on San Juan hill. That is the end of it, 
your life has been taken that is a flat, frank fact. 
And foreigners buried you expeditiously while 
speaking a strange tongue. Sleep well, red- 
headed mystery. 

On the day before the destruction of Cervera's 
fleet, I steamed past our own squadron, doggedly 
lying in its usual semicircle, every nose pointing 
at the mouth of the harbour. I went to Jamaica, 
and on the placid evening of the next day I was 
again steaming past our own squadron, doggedly 
lying in its usual semicircle, every nose pointing 
at the mouth of the harbour. A megaphone-hail 
from the bridge of one of the yacht-gunboats 


came casually over the water. " Hello! hear the 
news?" "No; what was it?" "The Spanish 
fleet came out this morning." " Oh, of course, 
it did." " Honest, I mean." " Yes, I know ; 
well, where are they now?" "Sunk." Was 
there ever such a preposterous statement ? I was 
humiliated that my friend, the lieutenant on the 
yacht-gunboat, should have measured me as one 
likely to swallow this bad joke. 

But it was all true ; every word. I glanced back 
at our squadron, lying in its usual semicircle, every 
nose pointing at the mouth of the harbour. It 
would have been absurd to think that anything 
had happened. The squadron hadn't changed a 
button. There it sat without even a smile on the 
face of the tiger. And it had eaten four armoured 
cruisers and two torpedo-boat-destroyers while 
my back was turned for a moment. Courteously, 
but clearly, we announced across the waters that 
until despatch-boats came to be manned from the 
ranks of the celebrated horse-marines, the lieu- 
tenant's statement would probably remain unap- 
preciated. He made a gesture, abandoning us to 
our scepticism. It infuriates an honourable and 
serious man to be taken for a liar or a joker at a 
time when he is supremely honourable and seri- 
ous. However, when we went ashore, we found 


Siboney ringing with the news. It was true, 
then ; that mishandled collection of sick ships 
had come out and taken the deadly thrashing 
which was rightfully the due of I don't know 
somebody in Spain or perhaps nobody anywhere. 
One likes to wallop incapacity, but one has 
mingled emotions over the incapacity which is 
not so much personal as it is the development of 
centuries. This kind of incapacity cannot be 
centralised. You cannot hit the head which con- 
tains it all. This is the idea, I imagine, which 
moved the officers and men of our fleet. Almost 
immediately they began to speak of the Spanish 
Admiral as " poor old boy " with a lucid sugges- 
tion in their tones that his fate appealed to them 
as being undue hard, undue cruel. And yet the 
Spanish guns hit nothing. If a man shoots, he 
should hit something occasionally, and men say 
that from the time the Spanish ships broke clear 
of the harbour entrance until they were one by 
one overpowered, they were each a band of flame. 
Well, one can only mumble out that when a man 
shoots he should be required to hit something 

In truth, the greatest fact of the whole cam- 
paign on land and sea seems to be the fact that 
the Spaniards could only hit by chance, by a fluke. 


If he had been an able marksman, no man of our 
two unsupported divisions would have set foot 
on San Juan hill on July I. They should have 
been blown to smithereens. The Spaniards had 
no immediate lack of ammunition, for they fired 
enough to kill the population of four big cities. 
I admit neither Velasquez nor Cervantes into 
this discussion, although they have appeared by 
authority as reasons for something which I do 
not clearly understand. Well, anyhow they 
couldn't hit anything. Velasquez ? Yes. Cer- 
vantes? Yes. But the Spanish troops seemed 
only to try to make a very rapid fire. Thus we 
lost many men. We lost them because of the 
simple fury of the fire ; never because the fire 
was well-directed, intelligent. But the Americans 
were called upon to be whipped because of Cer- 
vantes and Velasquez. It was impossible. 

Out on the slopes of San Juan the dog-tents 
shone white. Some kind of negotiations were 
going forward, and men sat on their trousers and 
waited. It was all rather a blur of talks with 
officers, and a craving for good food and good 
water. Once Leighton and I decided to ride over 
to El Caney, into which town the civilian refugees 
from Santiago were pouring. The road from the 
beleaguered city to the out-lying village was a 


spectacle to make one moan. There were delicate 
gentle families on foot, the silly French boots of the 
girls twisting and turning in a sort of absolute paper 
futility ; there were sons and grandsons carrying 
the venerable patriarch in his own armchair ; there 
were exhausted mothers with babes who wailed ; 
there were young dandies with their toilettes in 
decay ; there were puzzled, guideless women who 
didn't know what had happened. The first sen- 
tence one heard was the murmurous " What a damn 
shame." We saw a godless young trooper of the 
Second Cavalry sharply halt a waggon. " Hold on 
a minute. You must carry this woman. She's 
fainted twice already." The virtuous driver of the 
U. S. Army waggon mildly answered : a But I'm 
full-up now." " You can make room for her," said 
the private of the Second Cavalry. A young, young 
man with a straight mouth. It was merely a plain 
bit of nothing at all but, thank God, thank 
God, he seemed to have not the slightest sense of 
excellence. He said : " If you've got anjr man in 
there who can walk at all, you put him out and 
let this woman get in." " But," answered the 
teamster, " I'm filled up with a lot of cripples and 
grandmothers." Thereupon they discussed the 
point fairly, and ultimately the woman was lifted 
into the waggon. 


The vivid thing was the fact that these people 
did not visibly suffer. Somehow they were 
numb. There was not a tear. There was rarely 
a countenance which was not wondrously casual. 
There was no sign of fatalistic theory. It was 
simply that what was happening to-day had hap- 
pened yesterday, as near as one could judge. I 
could fancy that these people had been thrown 
out of their homes every day. It was utterly, 
utterly casual. And they accepted the ministra- 
tions of our men in the same fashion. Everything 
was a matter of course. I had a filled canteen. 
I was frightfully conscious of this fact because a 
filled canteen was a pearl of price ; it was a great 
thing. It was an enormous accident which led 
one to offer praises that he was luckier than ten 
thousand better men. 

As Leighton and I rode along, we came to a 
tree under which a refugee family had halted. 
They were a man, his wife, two handsome daugh- 
ters and a pimply son. It was plain that they 
were superior people, because the girls had dressed 
for the exodus and wore corsets which captivated 
their forms with a steel-ribbed vehemence only 
proper for wear on a sun-blistered road to a distant 
town. They asked us for water. Water was the 
gold of the moment. Leighton was almost maud- 


lin in his generosity. I remember being angry 
with him. He lavished upon them his whole 
canteen and he received in return not even a 
glance of what ? Acknowledgment ? No, they 
didn't even admit anything. Leighton wasn't a 
human being ; he was some sort of a mountain 
spring. They accepted him on a basis of pure 
natural phenomena. His canteen was purely an 
occurrence. In the meantime the pimple-faced 
approached me. He asked for water and held out 
a pint cup. My response was immediate. I 
tilted my canteen and poured into his cup almost 
a pint of my treasure. He glanced into the cup 
and apparently he beheld there some innocent sedi- 
ment for which he alone or his people were re- 
sponsible. In the American camps the men were 
accustomed to a sediment. Well, he glanced at 
my poor cupful and then negligently poured it out 
on the ground and held up his cup for more. I 
gave him more ; I gave him his cup full again, but 
there was something within me which made me 
swear him out completely. But he didn't under- 
stand a word. Afterward I watched if they were 
capable of being moved to help on their less able 
fellows on this miserable journey. Not they ! 
Nor yet anybody else. Nobody cared for anybody 
save my young friend of the Second Cavalry, who 


rode seriously to and fro doing his best for people, 
who took him as a result of a strange upheaval. 

The fight at El Caney had been furious. Gen- 
eral Vera del Rey with somewhat less than 1000 
men the Spanish accounts say 520 had there 
made such a stand that only about 80 battered 
soldiers ever emerged from it. The attack cost 
Lawton about 400 men. The magazine rifle! 
But the town was now a vast parrot-cage of chat- 
tering refugees. If, on the road, they were silent, 
stolid and serene, in the town they found their 
tongues and set up such a cackle as one may 
seldom hear. Notably the women ; it is they who 
invariably confuse the definition of situations, and 
one could wonder in amaze if this crowd of irre- 
sponsible, gabbling hens had already forgotten 
that this town was the deathbed, so to speak, 
of scores of gallant men whose blood was not yet 
dry ; whose hands, of the hue of pale amber, stuck 
from the soil of the hasty burial. On the way to 
El Caney I had conjured a picture of the women 
of Santiago, proud in their pain, their despair, 
dealing glances of defiance, contempt, hatred at 
the invader ; fiery ferocious ladies, so true to their 
vanquished and to their dead that they spurned 
the very existence of the low-bred churls who 
lacked both Velasquez and Cervantes. And 


instead, there was this mere noise, which reminded 
one alternately of a tea-party in Ireland, a village 
fete in the south of France, and the vacuous 
morning screech of a swarm of sea-gulls. " Good. 
There is Donna Maria. This will lower her high 
head. This will teach her better manners to her 
neighbours. She wasn't too grand to send her 
rascal of a servant to borrow a trifle of coffee of 
me in the morning, and then when I met her on 
the calle por Dios, she was too blind to see me. 
But we are all equal here. No ? Little Juan has 
a sore toe. Yes, Donna Maria ; many thanks, 
many thanks. Juan, do me the favour to be quiet 
while Donna Maria is asking about your toe. Oh, 
Donna Maria, we were always poor, always. But 
you. My heart bleeds when I see how hard this 
is for you. The old cat ! She gives me a head- 

Pushing through the throng in the plaza we 
came in sight of the door of the church, and here 
was a strange scene. The church had been turned 
into a hospital for Spanish wounded who had fallen 
into American hands. The interior of the church 
was too cave-like in its gloom for the eyes of the 
operating surgeons, so they had had the altar table 
carried to the doorway, where there was a bright 
light. Framed then in the black archway was 


the altar table with the figure of a man upon it. 
He was naked save for a breech-clout and so close, 
so clear was the ecclesiastic suggestion, that one's 
mind leaped to a phantasy that this thin, pale 
figure had just been torn down from a cross. 
The flash of the impression was like light, and for 
this instant it illumined all the dark recesses of 
one's remotest idea of sacrilege, ghastly and 
wanton. I bring this to you merely as an effect, 
an effect of mental light and shade, if you like ; 
something done in thought similar to that which 
the French impressionists do in colour ; something 
meaningless and at the same time overwhelming, 
crushing, monstrous. " Poor devil ; I wonder if 
he'll pull through," said Leighton. An American 
surgeon and his assistants were intent over the 
prone figure. They wore white aprons. Some- 
thing small and silvery flashed in the surgeon's 
hand. An assistant held the merciful sponge 
close to the man's nostrils, but he was writhing and 
moaning in some horrible dream of this artificial 
sleep. As the surgeon's instrument played, I 
fancied that the man dreamed that he was being 
gored by a bull. In his pleading, delirious babble 
occurred constantly the name of the Virgin, the 
Holy Mother. " Good morning," said the sur- 
geon. He changed his knife to his left hand and 


gave me a wet palm. The tips of his fingers were 
wrinkled, shrunken, like those of a boy who has 
been in swimming too long. Now, in front of the 
door, there were three American sentries, and it 
was their business to to do what ? To keep this 
Spanish crowd from swarming over the operating 
table ! It was perforce a public clinic. They 
would not be denied. The weaker women and 
the children jostled according to their might in the 
rear, while the stronger people, gaping in the front 
rank, cried out impatiently when the pushing dis- 
turbed their long stares. One burned with a 
sudden gift of public oratory. One wanted to 
say : " Oh, go away, go away, go away. Leave 
the man decently alone with his pain, you gog- 
glers. This is not the national sport." 

But within the church there was an audience of 
another kind. This was of the other wounded 
men awaiting their turn. They lay on their brown 
blankets in rows along the stone floor. Their 
eyes, too, were fastened upon the operating-table, 
but that was different. Meek-eyed little yellow 
men lying on the floor awaiting their turns. 

One afternoon I was seated with a correspond- 
ent friend, on the porch of one of the houses at 
Siboney. A vast man on horseback came riding 
along at a foot pace. When he perceived my 


friend, he pulled up sharply. " Whoa ! Where's 
that mule I lent you ? " My friend arose and sa- 
luted. " I've got him all right, General, thank you," 
said my friend. The vast man shook his finger. 
" Don't you lose him now." " No, sir, I won't ; 
thank you, sir." The vast man rode away. " Who 
the devil is that ? " said I. My friend laughed. 
" That's General Shatter," said he. 

I gave five dollars for the Bos'n small, black, 
spry imp of Jamaica sin. When I first saw him he 
was the property of a fireman on the Criton. The 
fireman had found him a little wharf rat in Port 
Antonio. It was not the purchase of a slave ; it was 
that the fireman believed that he had spent about 
five dollars on a lot of comic supplies for the Bos'n, 
including a little suit of sailor clothes. The Bos'n 
was an adroit and fantastic black gamin. His eyes 
were like white lights, and his teeth were a row of 
little piano keys ; otherwise he was black. He had 
both been a jockey and a cabin-boy, and he had the 
manners of a gentleman. After he entered my 
service I don't think there was ever an occasion 
upon which he was useful, save when he told me 
quaint stories of Guatemala, in which country he 
seemed to have lived some portion of his infantile 
existence. Usually he ran funny errands like 
little foot-races, each about fifteen yards in length. 


At Siboney he slept under my hammock like 
a poodle, and I always expected that, through the 
breaking of a rope, I would some night descend 
and obliterate him. His incompetence was spec- 
tacular. When I wanted him to do a thing, the 
agony of supervision was worse than the agony of 
personal performance. It would have been easier 
to have gotten my own spurs or boots or blanket 
than to have the bother of this little incapable's 
service. But the good aspect was the humorous 
view. He was like a boy, a mouse, a scoundrel, 
and a devoted servitor. He was immensely pop- 
ular. His name of Bos'n became a Siboney stock- 
word. Everybody knew it. It was a name like 
President McKinley, Admiral Sampson, General 
Shafter. The Bos'n became a figure. One day 
he approached me with four one-dollar notes in 
United States currency. He besought me to pre- 
serve them for him, and I pompously tucked them 
away in my riding breeches, with an air which 
meant that his funds were now as safe as if they 
were in a national bank. Still, I asked with some 
surprise, where he had reaped all this money. He 
frankly admitted at once that it had been given to 
him by the enthusiastic soldiery as a tribute to his 
charm of person and manner. This was not aston- 
ishing for Siboney, where money was meaningless. 


Money was not worth carrying " packing." How- 
ever, a soldier came to our house one morning, 
and asked, " Got any more tobacco to sell? " As 
befitted men in virtuous poverty, we replied with 
indignation. "What tobacco ?" "Why, that 
tobacco what the little nigger is sellin' round." 

I said, " Bos'n ! " He said, "Yes, mawstah." 
Wounded men on bloody stretchers were being 
carried into the hospital next door. " Bos'n, 
you've been stealing my tobacco." His defence 
was as glorious as the defence of that forlorn 
hope in romantic history, which drew itself up 
and mutely died. He lied as desperately, as 
savagely, as hopelessly as ever man fought. 

One day a delegation from the 33d Michigan came 
to me and said : " Are you the proprietor of the 
Bos'n ? " I said : " Yes." And they said : " Well, 
would you please be so kind as to be so good as 
to give him to us ? " A big battle was expected 
for the next day. " Why," I answered, " if you 
want him you can have him. But he's a thief, 
and I won't let him go save on his personal an- 
nouncement." The big battle occurred the next 
day, and the Bos'n did not disappear in it ; but he 
disappeared in my interest in the battle, even as a 
waif might disappear in a fog. My interest in the 
battle made the Bos'n dissolve before my eyes. 


Poor little rascal ! I gave him up with pain. He 
was such an innocent villain. He knew no more 
of thievery than the whole of it. Anyhow one 
was fond of him. He was a natural scoundrel. 
He was not an educated scoundrel. One cannot 
bear the educated scoundrel. He was ingenuous, 
simple, honest, abashed ruffianism. 

I hope the 33d Michigan did not arrive home 
naked. I hope the Bos'n did not succeed in get- 
ting everything. If the Bos'n builds a palace in 
Detroit, I shall know where he got the money. He 
got it from the 33d Michigan. Poor little man. 
He was only eleven years old. He vanished. 
I had thought to preserve him as a relic, even 
as one preserves forgotten bayonets and fragments 
of shell. And now as to the pocket of my rid- 
ing-breeches. It contained four dollars in United 
States currency. Bos'n ! Hey, Bos'n, where are 
you ? The morning was the morning of battle. 

I was on San Juan Hill when Lieutenant Hob- 
son and the men of the Mtrrtmatwere exchanged 
and brought into the American lines. Many of 
us knew that the exchange was about to be made, 
and gathered to see the famous party. Some of 
our Staff officers rode out with three Spanish of- 
ficers prisoners these latter being blindfolded 
before they were taken through the American 


position. The army was majestically minding its 
business in the long line of trenches when its eye 
caught sight of this little procession. " What's 
that ? What they goin' to do ? " " They're goin' 
to exchange Hobson." Wherefore every man 
who was foot-free staked out a claim where he 
could get a good view of the liberated heroes, 
and two bands prepared to collaborate on " The 
Star Spangled Banner." There was a very long 
wait through the sunshiny afternoon. In our im- 
patience, we imagined them the Americans and 
Spaniards dickering away out there under the 
big tree like so many peddlers. Once the massed 
bands, misled by a rumour, stiffened themselves 
into that dramatic and breathless moment when 
each man is ready to blow. But the rumour was 
exploded in the nick of time. We made ill jokes, 
saying one to another that the negotiations had 
found diplomacy to be a failure, and were playing 
freeze-out poker for the whole batch of prisoners. 
But suddenly the moment came. Along the 
cut roadway, toward the crowded soldiers, rode 
three men, and it could be seen that the central 
one wore the undress uniform of an officer of the 
United States navy. Most of the soldiers were 
sprawled out on the grass, bored and wearied in 
the sunshine. However, they aroused at the old 


circus-parade, torch-light procession cry , " Here 
they come." Then the men of the regular army 
did a thing. They arose en masse and came to 
" Attention." Then the men of the regular army 
did another thing. They slowly lifted every 
weather-beaten hat and drooped it until it touched 
the knee. Then there was a magnificent silence, 
broken only by the measured hoof-beats of the 
little company's horses as they rode through the 
gap. It was solemn, funereal, this splendid silent 
welcome of a brave man by men who stood on a 
hill which they had earned out of blood and 
death simply, honestly, with no sense of excel- 
lence, earned out of blood and death. 

Then suddenly the whole scene went to rub- 
bish. Before he reached the bottom of the hill, 
Hobson was bowing to right and left like another 
Boulanger, and, above the thunder of the massed 
bands, one could hear the venerable outbreak, 
" Mr. Hobson, I'd like to shake the hand of the 
man who " But the real welcome was that wel- 
come of silence. However, one could thrill again 
when the tail of the procession appeared an 
army waggon containing the blue-jackets of the 
Merrimac adventure. I remember grinning heads 
stuck out from under the canvas cover of the 
waggon. And the army spoke to the navy. 


"Well, Jackie, how does it feel ? " And the navy 
iip and answered : " Great ! Much obliged to 
you fellers for comin' here." "Say, Jackie, what 
did they arrest ye for anyhow ? Stealin' a dawg ? " 
The navy still grinned. Here was no rubbish. 
Here was the mere exchange of language between 

Some of us fell in behind this small but royal 
procession and followed it to General Shafter's 
headquarters, some miles on the road to Siboney. 
I have a vague impression that I watched the 
meeting between Shafter and Hobson, but the 
impression ends there. However, I remember 
hearing a talk between them as to Hobson's men, 
and then the blue-jackets were called up to hear 
the congratulatory remarks of the general in com- 
mand of the Fifth Army Corps. It was a scene 
in the fine shade of thickly-leaved trees. The 
general sat in his chair, his belly sticking ridicu- 
lously out before him as if he had adopted some 
form of artificial inflation. He looked like a joss. 
If the seamen had suddenly begun to burn a few 
sticks, most of the spectators would have exhib- 
ited no surprise. But the words he spoke were 
proper, clear, quiet, soldierly, the words of one 
man to others. The Jackies were comic. At the 
bidding of their officer they aligned themselves 


before the general, grinned with embarrassment 
one to the other, made funny attempts to correct 
the alignment, and looked sheepish. They 
looked sheepish. They looked like bad little 
boys flagrantly caught. They had no sense of 
excellence. Here was no rubbish. 

Very soon after this the end of the campaign 
came for me. I caught a fever. I am not sure 
to this day what kind of a fever it was. It was 
defined variously. I know, at any rate, that I 
first developed a languorous indifference to every- 
thing in the world. Then I developed a tendency 
to ride a horse even as a man lies on a cot. Then 
II am not sure I think I grovelled and groaned 
about Siboney for several days. My colleagues, 
Scovel and George Rhea, found me and gave me 
of their best, but I didn't know whether London 
Bridge was falling down or whether there was a 
war with Spain. It was all the same. What of 
it? Nothing of it. Everything had happened, 
perhaps. But I cared not a jot. Life, death, 
dishonour all were nothing to me. All I cared 
for was pickles. Pickles at any price ! Pickles ! ! 

If I had been the father of a hundred suffering 
daughters, I should have waved them all aside 
and remarked that they could be damned for all 
I cared. It was not a mood. One can defeat a 


mood. It was a physical situation. Sometimes 
one cannot defeat a physical situation. I heard 
the talk of Siboney and sometimes I answered, 
but I was as indifferent as the star-fish flung to die 
on the sands. The only fact in the universe was 
that my veins burned and boiled. Rhea finally 
staggered me down to the army-surgeon who 
had charge of the proceedings, and the army- 
surgeon looked me over with a keen healthy eye. 
Then he gave a permit that I should be sent 
home. The manipulation from the shore to the 
transport was something which was Rhea's affair. 
I am not sure whether we went in a boat or a 
balloon. I think it was a boat. Rhea pushed me 
on board and I swayed meekly and unsteadily 
toward the captain of the ship, a corpulent, well- 
conditioned, impickled person pacing noisily on 
the spar-deck. " Ahem, yes ; well ; all right. 
Have you got your own food ? I hope, for 
Christ's sake, you don't expect us to feed you, do 
you ? " Whereupon I went to the rail and 
weakly yelled at Rhea, but he was already afar. 
The captain was, meantime, remarking in bellows 
that, for Christ's sake, I couldn't expect him to 
feed me. I didn't expect to be fed. I didn't 
care to be fed. I wished for nothing on earth 
but some form of painless pause, oblivion. The 


insults of this old pie-stuffed scoundrel did not 
affect me then ; they affect me now. I would 
like to tell him that, although I like collies, fox- 
terriers, and even screw-curled poodles, I do not 
like him. He was free to call me superfluous 
and throw me overboard, but he was not free to 
coarsely speak to a somewhat sick man. I in 
fact I hate him it is all wrong I lose what- 
ever ethics I possessed but I hate him, and I 
demand that you should imagine a milch cow 
endowed with a knowledge of navigation and in 
command of a ship and perfectly capable of 
commanding a ship oh, well, never mind. 
I was crawling along the deck when somebody 
pounced violently upon me and thundered : 
" Who in hell are you, sir ? " I said I was a cor- 
respondent. He asked me did I know that I had 
yellow fever. I said No. He yelled, " Well, by 
Gawd, you isolate yourself, sir." I said ; " Where ? " 
At this question he almost frothed at the mouth. 
I thought he was going to strike me. " Where ? " 
he roared. " How in hell do I know, sir ? I 
know as much about this ship as you do, sir. But 
you isolate yourself, sir." My clouded brain tried 
to comprehend these orders. This man was a 
doctor in the regular army, and it was necessary 
to obey him, so I bestirred myself to learn what 


he meant by these gorilla outcries. " All right, 
doctor ; I'll isolate myself, but I wish you'd tell 
me where to go." And then he passed into such 
volcanic humour that I clung to the rail and 
gasped. " Isolate yourself, sir. Isolate yourself. 
That's all I've got to say, sir. I don't give a God 
damn where you go, but when you get there, stay 
there, sir." So I wandered away and ended up 
on the deck aft, with my head against the flag- 
staff and my limp body stretched on a little rug. 
I was not at all sorry for myself. I didn't care a 
tent-peg. And yet, as I look back upon it now, 
the situation was fairly exciting a voyage of 
four or five days before me no food no friends 
above all else, no friends isolated on deck, and 
rather ill. 

When I returned to the United States, I was 
able to move my feminine friends to tears by an 
account of this voyage, but, after all, it wasn't so 
bad. They kept me on my small reservation aft, 
but plenty of kindness loomed soon enough. At 
mess-time, they slid me a tin plate of something, 
usually stewed tomatoes and bread. Men are 
always good men. And, at any rate, most of the 
people were in worse condition than I poor 
bandaged chaps looking sadly down at the waves. 
In a way, I knew the kind. First lieutenants at 


forty years of age, captains at fifty, majors at 102, 
lieutenant-colonels at 620, full colonels at 1000, 
and brigadiers at 9,768,295 plus. A man had to 
live two billion years to gain eminent rank in the 
regular army at that time. And, of course, they 
all had trembling wives at remote western posts 
waiting to hear the worst, the best, or the middle. 
In rough weather, the officers made a sort of 
a common pool of all the sound legs and arms, 
and by dint of hanging hard to each other they 
managed to move from their deck chairs to 
their cabins and from their cabins again to their 
deck chairs. Thus they lived until the ship 
reached Hampton Roads. We slowed down op- 
posite the curiously mingled hotels and batteries 
at Old Point Comfort, and at our mast-head we 
flew the yellow-flag, the grim ensign of the plague. 
Then we witnessed something which informed us 
that with all this ship-load of wounds and fevers 
and starvations we had forgotten the fourth ele- 
ment of war. We were flying the yellow flag, 
but a launch came and circled swiftly about us. 
There was a little woman in the launch, and 
she kept looking and looking and looking. Our 
ship was so high that she could see only those 
who rung at the rail, but she kept looking and 
looking and looking. It was plain enough it 


was all plain enough but my heart sank with the 
fear that she was not going to find him. But 
presently there was a commotion among some 
black dough-boys of the 24th Infantry, and two of 
them ran aft to Colonel Liscum, its gallant com- 
mander. Their faces were wreathed in darkey 
grins of delight. " Kunnel, ain't dat Mis' Liscum, 
Kunnel ? " " What ? " said the old man. He got 
up quickly and appeared at the rail, his arm in a 
sling. He cried, " Alice ! " The little woman 
saw him, and instantly she covered up her face 
with her hands as if blinded with a flash of white 
fire. She made no outcry; it was all in this 
simply swift gesture, but we we knew them. It 
told us. It told us the other part. And in a 
vision we all saw our own harbour-lights. That is 
to say those of us who had harbour-lights. 

I was almost well, and had defeated the yellow- 
fever charge which had been brought against me, 
and so I was allowed ashore among the first. And 
now happened a strange thing. A hard campaign, 
full of wants and lacks and absences, brings a man 
speedily back to an appreciation of things long 
disregarded or forgotten. In camp, somewhere in 
the woods between Siboney and Santiago, I hap- 
pened to think of ice-cream-soda. I had done 

very well without it for many years ; in fact I 


think I loathe it ; but I got to dreaming of ice- 
cream-soda, and I came near dying of longing for 
it. I couldn't get it out of my mind, try as I 
would to concentrate my thoughts upon the land 
crabs and mud with which I was surrounded. It 
certainly had been an institution of my childhood, 
but to have a ravenous longing for it in the year 
1898 was about as illogical as to have a ravenous 
longing for kerosene. All I could do was to 
swear to myself that if I reached the United States 
again, I would immediately go to the nearest soda- 
water fountain and make it look like Spanish 
Fours. In a loud, firm voice, I would say, " Orange, 
please." And here is the strange thing : as soon 
as I was ashore I went to the nearest soda-water- 
fountain, and in a loud, firm voice I said, " Orange, 
please." I remember one man who went mad 
that way over tinned peaches, and who wandered 
over the face of the earth saying plaintively, 
" Have you any peaches?" 

Most of the wounded and sick had to be tab- 
ulated and marshalled in sections and thor- 
oughly officialised, so that I was in time to take 
a position on the verandah of Chamberlain's 
Hotel and see my late shipmates taken to the 
hospital. The verandah was crowded with women 
in light, charming summer dresses, and with 


spruce officers from the Fortress. It was like a 
bank of flowers. It filled me with awe. All 
this luxury and refinement and gentle care and 
fragrance and colour seemed absolutely new. Then 
across the narrow street on the verandah of the 
hotel there was a similar bank of flowers. Two 
companies of volunteers dug a lane through the 
great crowd in the street and kept the way, and 
then through this lane there passed a curious 
procession. I had never known that they looked 
like that. Such a gang of dirty, ragged, emaciated, 
half-starved, bandaged cripples I had never seen. 
Naturally there were many men who couldn't 
walk, and some of these were loaded upon a big 
flat car which was in tow of a trolley-car. Then 
there were many stretchers, slow-moving. When 
that crowd began to pass the hotel the banks of 
flowers made a noise which could make one 
tremble. Perhaps it was a moan, perhaps it was 
a sob but no, it was something beyond either a 
moan or a sob. Anyhow, the sound of women 
weeping was in it. The sound of women weeping. 
And how did these men of famous deeds appear 
when received thus by the people? Did they 
smirk and look as if they were bursting with the 
desire to tell everything which had happened ? 
No they hung their heads like so many jail-birds. 


Most of them seemed to be suffering from some- 
thing which was like stage-fright during the ordeal 
of this chance but supremely eloquent reception. 
No sense of excellence that was it. Evidently 
they were vailing to leave the clacking to all those 
natural born major-generals who after the war 
talked enough to make a great fall in the price of 
that commodity all over the world. 

The episode was closed. And you can depend 
upon it that I have told you nothing at all, 
nothing at all, nothing at all. 


CASPAR CADOGAN resolved to go to the tropic 
wars and do something. The air was blue and 
gold with the pomp of soldiering, and in every ear 
rang the music of military glory. Caspar's father 
was a United States Senator from the great State 
of Skowmulligan, where the war fever ran very 
high. Chill is the blood of many of the sons of 
millionaires, but Caspar took the fever and posted 
to Washington. His father had never denied 
him anything, and this time all that Caspar wanted 
was a little Captaincy in the Army just a simple 
little Captaincy. 

The old man had been entertaining a delegation 
of respectable bunco-steerers from Skowmulligan 
who had come to him on a matter which is none 
of the public's business. 

Bottles of whisky and boxes of cigars were still 
on the table in the sumptuous private parlour. 
The Senator had said, " Well, gentlemen, I'll do 



what I can for you." By this sentence he meant 
whatever he meant. 

Then he turned to his eager son. " Well, 
Caspar ? " The youth poured out his modest 
desires. It was not altogether his fault. Life 
had taught him a generous faith in his own abil- 
ities. If any one had told him that he was simply 

an ordinary d d fool he would have opened 

his eyes wide at the person's lack of judgment. 
All his life people had admired him. 

The Skowmulligan war-horse looked with quick 
disapproval into the eyes of his son. " Well, 
Caspar," he said slowly, " I am of the opinion 
that they've got all the golf experts and tennis 
champions and cotillion leaders and piano tuners 
and billiard markers that they really need as offi- 
cers. Now, if you were a soldier " 

" I know," said the young man with a gesture, 
" but I'm not exactly a fool, I hope, and I think 
if I get a chance I can do something. I'd like to 
try. I would, indeed." 

The Senator lit a cigar. He assumed an atti- 
tude of ponderous reflection. " Y yes, but this 
country is full of young men who are not fools. 
Full of 'em." 

Caspar fidgeted in the desire to answer that 
while he admitted the profusion of young men who 


were not fools, he felt that he himself possessed 
interesting and peculiar qualifications which would 
allow him to make his mark in any field of effort 
which he seriously challenged. But he did not 
make this graceful statement, for he sometimes 
detected something ironic in his father's temper- 
ament. The Skowmulligan war-horse had not 
thought of expressing an opinion of his own 
ability since the year 1865, when he was young, 
like Caspar. 

" Well, well," said the Senator finally. " I'll 
see about it. I'll see about it." The young man 
was obliged to await the end of his father's charac- 
teristic method of thought. The war-horse never 
gave a quick answer, and if people tried to hurry 
him they seemed able to arouse only a feeling of 
irritation against making a decision at all. His 
mind moved like the wind, but practice had placed 
a Mexican bit in the mouth of his judgment. 
This old man of light quick thought had taught 
himself to move like an ox cart. Caspar said, 
" Yes, sir." He withdrew to his club, where, to 
the affectionate inquiries of some envious friends, 
he replied, " The old man is letting the idea 

The mind of the war-horse was decided far 
sooner than Caspar expected. In Washington a 


large number of well-bred handsome young men 
were receiving appointments as Lieutenants, as 
Captains, and occasionally as Majors. They were 
a strong, healthy, clean-eyed educated collection. 
They were a prime lot. A German Field-Marshal 
would have beamed with joy if he could have had 
them to send to school. Anywhere in the 
world they would have made a grand show as 
material, but, intrinsically they were not Lieu- 
tenants, Captains and Majors. They were fine 
men, though manhood is only an essential part of 
a Lieutenant, a Captain or a Major. But at any 
rate, this arrangement had all the logic of going 
to sea in a bathing-machine. 

The Senator found himself reasoning that Caspar 
was as good as any of them, and better than 
many. Presently he was bleating here and there 
that his boy should have a chance. " The boy's 
all right, I tell you, Henry. He's wild to go, and 
I don't see why they shouldn't give him a show. 
He's got plenty of nerve, and he's keen as a whip- 
lash. I'm going to get him an appointment, and 
if you can do anything to help it along I wish 
you would." 

Then he betook himself to the White House 
and the War Department and made a stir. People 
think that Administrations are always slavishly, 


abominably anxious to please the Machine. They 
are not ; they wish the Machine sunk in red fire, 
for by the power of ten thousand past words, 
looks, gestures, writings, the Machine comes along 
and takes the Administration by the nose and 
twists it, and the Administration dare not even 
yell. The huge force which carries an election to 
success looks reproachfully at the Administration 
and says, " Give me a bun." That is a very 
small thing with which to reward a Colossus. 

The Skowmulligan war-horse got his bun and 
took it to his hotel where Caspar was moodily 
reading war rumours. " Well, my boy, here you 
are." Caspar was a Captain and Commissary on 
the staff of Brigadier-General Reilly, commander 
of the Second Brigade of the First Division of the 
Thirtieth Army Corps. 

" I had to work for it," said the Senator grimly. 
" They talked to me as if they thought you were 
some sort of empty-headed idiot. None of 'em 
seemed to know you personally. They just sort 
of took it for granted. Finally I got pretty hot 
in the collar." He paused a moment ; his heavy, 
grooved face set hard ; his blue eyes shone. He 
clapped a hand down upon the handle of his 

" Caspar, I've got you into this thing, and I 


believe you'll do all right, and I'm not saying this 
because I distrust either your sense or your grit. 
But I want you to understand you've got to make 
a go of it. I'm not going to talk any twaddle 
about your country and your country's flag. You 
understand all about that. But now you're a 
soldier, and there'll be this to do and that to do, 
and fighting to do, and you've got to do every 

d done of 'em right up to the handle. I don't 

know how much of a shindy this thing is going 
to be, but any shindy is enough to show how 
much there is in a man. You've got your ap- 
pointment, and that's all I can do for you ; but I'll 
thrash you with my own hands if, when the Army 
gets back, the other fellows say my son is ' noth- 
ing but a good-looking dude.' " 

He ceased, breathing heavily. Caspar looked 
bravely and frankly at his father, and answered in 
a voice which was not very tremulous. " I'll do 
my best. This is my chance. I'll do my best 
with it." 

The Senator had a marvellous ability of transi- 
tion from one manner to another. Suddenly he 
seemed very kind. " Well, that's all right, then. 
I guess you'll get along all right with Rellly. I 
know him well, and he'll see you through. I 
helped him along once. And now about this 


commissary business. As I understand it, a Com- 
missary is a sort of caterer in a big way that is, 
he looks out for a good many more things than a 
caterer has to bother his head about. Reilly's 
brigade has probably from two to three thousand 
men in it, and in regard to certain things you've 
got to look out for every man of 'em every day. 
I know perfectly well you couldn't successfully 
run a boarding-house in Ocean Grove. How are 
you going to manage for all these soldiers, hey ? 
Thought about it ? " 

" No," said Caspar, injured. " I didn't want 
to be a Commissary. I wanted to be a Captain 
in the line." 

" They wouldn't hear of it. They said you 
would have to take a staff appointment where 
people could look after you." 

" Well, let them look after me," cried Caspar 
resentfully ; " but when there's any fighting to 
be done I guess I won't necessarily be the last 

" That's it," responded the Senator. " That's 
the spirit." They both thought that the problem 
of war would eliminate to an equation of actual 

Ultimately Caspar departed into the South to 
an encampment in salty grass under pine trees. 


Here lay an Army corps twenty thousand strong. 
Caspar passed into the dusty sunshine of it, and 
for many weeks he was lost to view. 


" Of course I don't know a blamed thing about 
it," said Caspar frankly and modestly to a circle 
of his fellow staff officers. He was referring to the 
duties of his office. 

Their faces became expressionless ; they looked 
at him with eyes in which he could fathom noth- 
ing. After a pause one politely said, " Don't 
you ? " It was the inevitable two words of con- 

" Why," cried Caspar, " I didn't know what a 
commissary officer was until I was one. My old 
Guv'nor told me. He'd looked it up in a book 
somewhere, I suppose ; but /didn't know." 

" Didn't you ? " 

The young man's face glowed with sudden 
humour. " Do you know, the word was inti- 
mately associated in my mind with camels. Funny, 
eh ? I think it came from reading that rhyme of 
Kipling's about the commissariat camel." 

" Did it ? " 


" Yes. Funny, isn't it ? Camels ! " 

The brigade was ultimately landed at Siboney as 
part of an army to attack Santiago. The scene 
at the landing sometimes resembled the inspirit- 
ing daily drama at the approach to the Brooklyn 
Bridge. There was a great bustle, during which 
the wise man kept his property gripped in his 
hands lest it might march off into the wilderness 
in the pocket of one of the striding regiments. 
Truthfully, Caspar should have had frantic occu- 
pation, but men saw him wandering bootlessly here 
and there crying, " Has any one seen my saddle- 
bags? Why, if I lose them I'm ruined. I've got 
everything packed away in 'em. Everything ! " 

They looked at him gloomily and without atten- 
tion. " No," they said. It was to intimate that 
they would not give a rip if he had lost his nose, 
his teeth and his self-respect. Reilly's brigade 
collected itself from the boats and went off, each 
regiment's soul burning with anger because some 
other regiment was in advance of it. Moving 
along through the scrub and under the palms, men 
talked mostly of things that- did not pertain to the 
business in hand. 

General Reilly finally planted his headquarters 
in some tall grass under a mango tree. " Where's 
Cadogan ? " he said suddenly as he took off his hat 


and smoothed the wet grey hair from his brow. 
Nobody knew. " I saw him looking for his 
saddle-bags down at the landing," said an officer 
dubiously. " Bother him," said the General con- 
temptuously. " Let him stay there." 

Three venerable regimental commanders came, 
saluted stiffly and sat in the grass. There was a 
pow-wow, during which Reilly explained much 
that the Division Commander had told him. The 
venerable Colonels nodded ; they understood. 
Everything was smooth and clear to their minds. 
But still, the Colonel of the Forty-fourth Regular 
Infantry murmured about the commissariat. His 
men and then he launched forth in a sentiment 
concerning the privations of his men in which you 
were confronted with his feeling that his men 
his men were the only creatures of importance in 
the universe, which feeling was entirely correct 
for him. Reilly grunted. He did what most 
commanders did. He set the competent line to 
doing the work of the incompetent part of the 

In time Caspar came trudging along the road 
merrily swinging his saddle-bags. " Well, Gen- 
neral," he cried as he saluted, " I found 'em." 

" Did you ? " said Reilly. Later an officer 
rushed to him tragically : " General, Cadogan is 


off there in the bushes eatin' potted ham and 
crackers all by himself." The officer was sent 
back into the bushes for Caspar, and the General 
sent Caspar with an order. Then Reilly and the 
three venerable Colonels, grinning, partook of 
potted ham and crackers. " Tashe a* right,'' said 
Reilly, with his mouth full. " Dorsey, see if 'e 
got some'n else." 

" Mush be selfish young pig," said one of the 
Colonels, with his mouth full. " Who's he, 
General ? " 

" Son Sen'tor Cad'gan ol' frien' mine dash 

Caspar wrote a letter : 

" Dear Father : I am sitting under a tree using the 
flattest part of my canteen for a desk. Even as I write the 
division ahead of us is moving forward and we don't know 
what moment the storm of battle may break out. I don't 
know what the plans are. General Reilly knows, but he is 
so good as to give me very little of his confidence. In fact, 
I might be part of a forlorn hope from all to the contrary 
I've heard from him. I understood you to say in Washing- 
ton that you at one time had been of some service to him, but 
if that is true I can assure you he has completely forgotten 
it. At times his manner to me is little short of being offen- 
sive, but of course I understand that it is only the way of a 
crusty old soldier who has been made boorish and bearish 
by a long life among the Indians. I dare say I shall man- 
age it all right without a row. 

11 When you hear that we have captured Santiago, please 
send me by first steamer a box of provisions and clothing, 


particularly sardines, pickles, and light-weight underwear. 
The other men on the staff are nice quiet chaps, but they 
seem a bit crude. There has been no fighting yet save the 
skirmish by Young's brigade. Reilly was furious because 
we couldn't get in it. I met General Peel yesterday. He 
was very nice. He said he knew you well when he was in 
Congress. Young Jack May is on Peel's staff. I knew him 
well in college. We spent an hour talking over old times. 
Give my love to all at home." 

The march was leisurely. Reilly and his staff 
strolled out to the head of the long, sinuous 
column and entered the sultry gloom of the 
forest. Some less fortunate regiments had to 
wait among the trees at the side of the trail, and 
as Reilly's brigade passed them, officer called to 
officer, classmate to classmate, and in these 
greetings rang a note of everything, from West 
Point to Alaska. They were going into an action 
in which they, the officers, would lose over a 
hundred in killed and wounded officers alone 
and these greetings, in which many nicknames 
occurred, were in many cases farewells such as one 
pictures being given with ostentation, solemnity, 
fervour. " There goes Gory Widgeon ! Hello, 
Gory ! Where you starting for ? Hey, Gory ! " 

Caspar communed with himself and decided 
that he was not frightened. He was eager and 
alert ; he thought that now his obligation to his 
country, or himself, was to be faced, and he was 


mad to prove to old Reilly and the others that 
after all he was a very capable soldier. 


Old Reilly was stumping along the line of 
his brigade and mumbling like a man with a 
mouthful of grass. The fire from the enemy's 
position was incredible in its swift fury, and 
Reilly's brigade was getting its share of a very 
bad ordeal. The old man's face was of the colour 
of a tomato, and in his rage he mouthed and 
sputtered strangely. As he pranced along his 
thin line, scornfully erect, voices arose from the 
grass beseeching him to take care of himself. At 
his heels scrambled a bugler with pallid skin and 
clenched teeth, a chalky, trembling youth, who 
kept his eye on old Reilly's back and followed it. 

The old gentleman was quite mad. Apparently 
he thought the whole thing a dreadful mess, but 
now that his brigade was irrevocably in it he was 
full-tilting here and everywhere to establish some 
irreproachable, immaculate kind of behaviour on 
the part of every man jack in his brigade. The 
intentions of the three venerable Colonels were 
the same. They stood behind their lines, quiet, 



stern, courteous old fellows, admonishing their 
regiments to be very pretty in the face of such a hail 
of magazine-rifle and machine-gun fire as has never 
in this world been confronted save by beardless 
savages when the white man has found occasion 
to take his burden to some new place. 

And the regiments were pretty. The men lay 
on their little stomachs and got peppered accord- 
ing to the law and said nothing, as the good 
blood pumped out into the grass, and even if a 
solitary rookie tried to get a decent reason to 
move to some haven of rational men, the cold 
voice of an officer made him look criminal with a 
shame that was a credit to his regimental educa- 
tion. Behind Reilly's command was a bullet-torn 
jungle through which it could not move as a 
brigade ; ahead of it were Spanish trenches on 
hills. Reilly considered that he was in a fix no 
doubt, but he said this only to himself. Suddenly 
he saw on the right a little point of blue-shirted 
men already half-way up the hill. It was some 
pathetic fragment of the Sixth United States In- 
fantry. Chagrined, shocked, horrified, Reilly 
bellowed to his bugler, and the chalked-faced 
youth unlocked his teeth and sounded the charge 
by rushes. 

The men formed hastily and grimly, and rushed. 


Apparently there awaited them only the fate of 
respectable soldiers. But they went because 
of the opinions of others, perhaps. They went 
because no loud-mouthed lot of jail-birds such 
as the Twenty-Seventh Infantry could do any- 
thing that they could not do better. They went 
because Reilly ordered it. They went because 
they went. 

And yet not a man of them to this day has 
made a public speech explaining precisely how he 
did the whole thing and detailing with what in- 
itiative and ability he comprehended and defeated 
a situation which he did not comprehend at all. 

Reilly never saw the top of the hill. He was 
heroically striving to keep up with his men when 
a bullet ripped quietly through his left lung, and 
he fell back into the arms of the bugler, who re- 
ceived him as he would have received a Christ- 
mas present. The three venerable Colonels in- 
herited the brigade in swift succession. The 
senior commanded for about fifty seconds, at the 
end of which he was mortally shot. Before they 
could get the news to the next in rank he, too, 
was shot. The junior Colonel ultimately arrived 
with a lean and puffing little brigade at the top 
of the hill. The men lay down and fired volleys 
at whatever was practicable. 


In and out of the ditch-like trenches lay the 
Spanish dead, lemon-faced corpses dressed in 
shabby blue and white ticking. Some were hud- 
dled down comfortably like sleeping children ; 
one had died in the attitude of a man flung back 
in a dentist's chair ; one sat in the trench with his 
chin sunk despondently to his breast ; few pre- 
served a record of the agitation of battle. With 
the greater number it was as if death had touched 
them so gently, so lightly, that they had not 
known of it. Death had come to them rather in 
the form of an opiate than of a bloody blow. 

But the arrived men in the blue shirts had no 
thought of the sallow corpses. They were eagerly 
exchanging a hail of shots with the Spanish second 
line, whose ash-coloured entrenchments barred the 
way to a city white amid trees. In the pauses the 
men talked. 

" We done the best. Old E Company got 
there. Why, one time the hull of B Company 
was behind us." 

" Jones, he was the first man up. I saw 'im." 

" Which Jones ? " 

" Did you see ol' Two-bars runnin' like a land- 
crab? Made good time, too. He hit only in the 
high places. He's all right." 

" The Lootenant is all right, too. He was a 


good ten yards ahead of the best of us. I hated 
him at the post, but for this here active service 
there's none of 'em can touch him." 

" This is mighty different from being at the 

" Well, we done it, an* it wasn't b'cause 1 
thought it could be done. When we started, I 

ses to m'self : * Well, here goes a lot o' d d 

fools.' " 

" 'Tain't over yet." 

" Oh, they'll never git us back from here. If 
they start to chase us back from here we'll pile 
'em up so high the last ones can't climb over. 
We've come this far, an' we'll stay here. I ain't 
done pantin'." 

" Anything is better than packin' through that 
jungle an' gettin' blistered from front, rear, an* 
both flanks. I'd rather tackle another hill than 
go trailin' in them woods, so thick you can't tell 
whether you are one man or a division of cav'lry." 

" Where's that young kitchen-soldier, Cadogan, 
or whatever his name is. Ain't seen him to-day." 

" Well, / seen him. He was right in with it. 
He got shot, too, about half up the hill, in the 
leg. I seen it. He's all right. Don't worry 
about him. He's all right." 

" I seen 'im, too. He done his stunt. As soon 


as I can git this piece of barbed-wire entangle- 
ment out o' me throat I'll give 'm a cheer." 

" He ain't shot at all, b'cause there he stands, 
there. See 'im ? " 

Rearward, the grassy slope was populous with 
little groups of men searching for the wounded. 
Reilly's brigade began to dig with its bayonets 
and shovel with its meat-ration cans. 


Senator Cadogan paced to and fro in his 
private parlour and smoked small, brown weak 
cigars. These little wisps seemed utterly inade- 
quate to console such a ponderous satrap. 

It was the evening of the 1st of July, 1898, and 
the Senator was immensely excited, as could be 
seen from the superlatively calm way in which he 
called out to his private secretary, who was in an 
adjoining room. The voice was serene, gentle, 
affectionate, low. 

" Baker, I wish you'd go over again to the War 
Department and see if they've heard anything 
about Caspar." 

A very bright-eyed, hatchet-faced young man 
appeared in a doorway, pen still in hand. He 


was hiding a nettle-like irritation behind all the 
finished audacity of a smirk, sharp, lying, trust- 
worthy young politician. " I've just got back 
from there, sir," he suggested. 

The Skowmulligan war-horse lifted his eyes and 
looked for a short second into the eyes of his 
private secretary. It was not a glare or an eagle 
glance ; it was something beyond the practice of 
an actor; it was simply meaning. The clever 
private secretary grabbed his hat and was at once 
enthusiastically away. " All right, sir," he cried. 
" I'll find out." 

The War Department was ablaze with light, and 
messengers were running. With the assurance of 
a retainer of an old house Baker made his way 
through much small-calibre vociferation. There 
was rumour of a big victory ; there was rumour of 
a big defeat. In the corridors various watchdogs 
arose from their armchairs and asked him of his 
business in tones of uncertainty which in no wise 
compared with their previous habitual deference 
to the private secretary of the war-horse of Skow- 

Ultimately Baker arrived in a room where some 
kind of head clerk sat writing feverishly at a 
roll-top desk. Baker asked a question, and the 
head clerk mumbled profanely without lifting his 


head. Apparently he said : " How in the blank- 
ety-blank blazes do I know ? " 

The private secretary let his jaw fall. Surely 
some new spirit had come suddenly upon the 
heart of Washington a spirit which Baker under- 
stood to be almost defiantly indifferent to the 
wishes of Senator Cadogan, a spirit which was 
not courteously oily. What could it mean ? 
Baker's fox-like mind sprang wildly to a concep- 
tion of overturned factions, changed friends, new 
combinations. The assurance which had come 
from experience of a broad political situation sud- 
denly left him, and he would not have been 
amazed if some one had told him that Senator 
Cadogan now controlled only six votes in the 
State of Skowmulligan. " Well," he stammered 
in his bewilderment, " well there isn't any news 
of the old man's son, hey ? " Again the head 
clerk replied blasphemously. 

Eventually Baker retreated in disorder from 
the presence of this head clerk, having learned 

that the latter did not give a if Caspar Cado- 

gan were sailing through Hades on an ice yacht. 

Baker stormed other and more formidable offi- 
cials. In fact, he struck as high as he dared. 
They one and all flung him short, hard words, 
even as men pelt an annoying cur with pebbles. 


He emerged from the brilliant light, from the 
groups of men with anxious, puzzled faces, and 
as he walked back to the hotel he did not know 
if his name were Baker or Cholmondeley. 

However, as he walked up the stairs to the 
Senator's rooms he contrived to concentrate his 
intellect upon a manner of speaking. 

The war-horse was still pacing his parlour 
and smoking. He paused at Baker's entrance. 

" Mr. Cadogan," said the private secretary 
coolly, "they told me at the Department that 
they did not give a cuss whether your son was 
alive or dead." 

The Senator looked at Baker and smiled gently. 
" What's that, my boy ? " he asked in a soft and 
considerate voice. 

"They said " gulped Baker, with a certain 

tenacity. " They said that they didn't give a cuss 
whether your son was alive or dead." 

There was a silence for the space of three sec- 
onds. Baker stood like an image ; he had no 
machinery for balancing the issues of this kind of 
a situation, and he seemed to feel that if he 
stood as still as a stone frog he would escape 
the ravages of a terrible Senatorial wrath which 
was about to break forth in a hurricane speech 


which would snap off trees and sweep away 

"Well," drawled the Senator lazily, "who did 
you see, Baker?" 

The private secretary resumed a certain usual 
manner of breathing. He told the names of the 
men whom he had seen. 

" Ye e es," remarked the Senator. He took 
another little brown cigar and held it with a 
thumb and first finger, staring at it with the calm 
and steady scrutiny of a scientist investigating a 
new thing. " So they don't care whether Caspar 
is alive or dead, eh ? Well . . . maybe they 
don't. . . . That's all right. . . . However . . . 
I think I'll just look in on 'em and state my 

When the Senator had gone, the private secre- 
tary ran to the window and leaned afar out. 
Pennsylvania Avenue was gleaming silver blue in 
the light of many arc-lamps ; the cable trains 
groaned along to the clangour of gongs ; from the 
window, the walks presented a hardly diversified 
aspect of shirt-waists and straw hats. Sometimes 
a newsboy screeched. 

Baker watched the tall, heavy figure of the 
Senator moving out to intercept a cable train. 
" Great Scott ! " cried the private secretary to 


himself, " there'll be three distinct kinds of grand, 
plain practical fireworks. The old man is going 
for 'em. I wouldn't be in Lascum's boots. Ye 
gods, what a row there'll be." 

In due time the Senator was closeted with some 
kind of deputy third-assistant battery-horse in the 
offices of the War Department. The official ob- 
viously had been told off to make a supreme effort 
to pacify Cadogan, and he certainly was acting 
according to his instructions. He was almost in 
tears ; he spread out his hands in supplication, 
and his voice whined and wheedled. 

" Why, really, you know, Senator, we can only 
beg you to look at the circumstances. Two scant 
divisions at the top of that hill ; over a thousand 
men killed and wounded ; the line so thin that 
any strong attack would smash our Army to flin- 
ders. The Spaniards have probably received re- 
enforcements under Pando ; Shafter seems to be 
too ill to be actively in command of our troops ; 
Lawton can't get up with his division before to- 
morrow. We are actually expecting . . . no, I 
won't say expecting . . . but we would not be 
surprised . . nobody in the department would 
be surprised if before daybreak we were compelled 
to give to the country the news of a disaster which 
would be the worst blow the National pride has 


ever suffered. Don't you see ? Can't you see 
our position, Senator? " 

The Senator, with a pale but composed face, 
contemplated the official with eyes that gleamed 
in a way not usual with the big, self-controlled 

" I'll tell you frankly, sir," continued the other. 
" I'll tell you frankly, that at this moment we 
don't know whether we are a-foot or a-horseback. 
Everything is in the air. We don't know whether 
we have won a glorious victory or simply got our- 
selves in a deuce of a fix." 

The Senator coughed. " I suppose my boy is 
with the two divisions at the top of that hill ? 
He's with Reilly." 

" Yes ; Reilly 's brigade is up there." 

" And when do you suppose the War Depart- 
ment can tell me if he is all right. I want to 

" My dear Senator, frankly, I don't know. 
Again I beg you to think of our position. The 
Army is in a muddle ; it's a General thinking that 
he must fall back, and yet not sure that he can 
fall back without losing the Army. Why, we're 
worrying about the lives of sixteen thousand men 
and the self-respect of the nation, Senator." 

" I see," observed the Senator, nodding his head 


slowly. " And naturally the welfare of one man's 
son doesn't how do they say it doesn't cut any 


And in Cuba it rained. In a few days Reilly's 
brigade discovered that by their successful charge 
they had gained the inestimable privilege of sitting 
in a wet trench and slowly but surely starving to 
death. Men's tempers crumbled like dry bread. 
The soldiers who so cheerfully, quietly and de- 
cently had captured positions which the foreign 
experts had said were impregnable, now in turn 
underwent an attack which was furious as well as 
insidious. The heat of the sun alternated with 
rains which boomed and roared in their falling like 
mountain cataracts. It seemed as if men took 
the fever through sheer lack of other occupation. 
During the days of battle none had had time to 
get even a tropic headache, but no sooner was that 
brisk period over than men began to shiver and 
shudder by squads and platoons. Rations were 
scarce enough to make a little fat strip of bacon 
seem of the size of a corner lot, and coffee grains 
were pearls. There would have been godless 
quarreling over fragments if it were not that with 


these fevers came a great listlessness, so that men 
were almost content to die, if death required no 

It was an occasion which distinctly separated 
the sheep from the goats. The goats were few 
enough, but their qualities glared out like crimson 

One morning Jameson and Ripley, two Captains 
in the Forty-fourth Foot, lay under a flimsy shelter 
of sticks and palm branches. Their dreamy, dull 
eyes contemplated the men in the trench which 
went to left and right. To them came Caspar 
Cadogan, moaning. " By Jove," he said, as he 
flung himself wearily on the ground, " I can't 
stand much more of this, you know. It's killing 
me." A bristly beard sprouted through the grime 
on his face ; his eyelids were crimson ; an inde- 
scribably dirty shirt fell away from his roughened 
neck ; and at the same time various lines of evil 
and greed were deepened on his face, until he 
practically stood forth as a revelation, a confession. 
" I can't stand it. By Jove, I can't." 

Stanford, a Lieutenant under Jameson, came 
stumbling along toward them. He was a lad of 
the class of '98 at West Point. It could be seen 
that he was flaming with fever. He rolled a calm 
eye at them. " Have you any water, sir ?" he said 


to his Captain. Jameson got upon his feet and 
helped Stanford to lay his shaking length under 
the shelter. " No, boy," he answered gloomily. 
" Not a drop. You got any, Rip ? " 

" No," answered Ripley, looking with anxiety 
upon the young officer. " Not a drop." 

"You, Cadogan?" 

Here Caspar hesitated oddly for a second, and 
then in a tone of deep regret made answer, " No, 
Captain ; not a mouthful." 

Jameson moved off weakly. " You lay quietly, 
Stanford, and I'll see what I can rustle." 

Presently Caspar felt that Ripley was steadily 
regarding him. He returned the look with one 
of half-guilty questioning. 

" God forgive you, Cadogan," said Ripley, " but 
you are a damned beast. Your canteen is full of 

Even then the apathy in their veins prevented 
the scene from becoming as sharp as the words 
sounded. Caspar sputtered like a child, and at 
length merely said : " No, it isn't." Stanford 
lifted his head to shoot a keen, proud glance at 
Caspar, and then turned away his face. 

"You lie," said Ripley. " I can tell the sound 
of a full canteen as far as I can hear it." 

" Well, if it is, I I must have forgotten it." 


" You lie ; no man in this Army just now for- 
gets whether his canteen is full or empty. Hand 
it over." 

Fever is the physical counterpart of shame, and 
when a man has the one he accepts the other 
with an ease which would revolt his healthy self. 
However, Caspar made a desperate struggle to 
preserve the forms. He arose and taking the 
string from his shoulder, passed the canteen to 
Ripley. But after all there was a whine in his 
voice, and the assumption of dignity was really a 
farce. " I think I had better go, Captain. You 
can have the water if you want it, I'm sure. But 
but I fail to see I fail to see what reason you 
have for insulting me." 

" Do you ? " said Ripley stolidly. " That's all 

Caspar stood for a terrible moment. He 
simply did not have the strength to turn his back 
on this this affair. It seemed to him that he 
must stand forever and face it. But when he 
found the audacity to look again at Ripley he 
saw the latter was not at all concerned with the 
situation. Ripley, too, had the fever. The fever 
changes all laws of proportion. Caspar went 

" Here, youngster ; here is your drink." 


Stanford made a weak gesture. " I wouldn't 
touch a drop from his blamed canteen if it was 
the last water in the world,'' he murmured in his 
high, boyish voice. 

" Don't you be a young jackass,'' quoth Ripley 

The boy stole a glance at the canteen. He felt 
the propriety of arising and hurling it after Cas- 
par, but he, too, had the fever. 

" Don't you be a young jackass," said Ripley 


Senator Cadogan was happy. His son had re- 
turned from Cuba, and the 8:30 train that evening 
would bring him to the station nearest to the 
stone and red shingle villa which the Senator and 
his family occupied on the shores of Long Island 
Sound. The Senator's steam yacht lay some 
hundred yards from the beach. She had just re- 
turned from a trip to Montauk Point where the 
Senator had made a gallant attempt to gain his 
son from the transport on which he was coming 
from Cuba. He had fought a brave sea-fight 
with sundry petty little doctors and ship's offi- 
cers who had raked him with broadsides, describ- 



ing the laws of quarantine and had used inelegant 
speech to a United States Senator as he stood on 
the bridge of his own steam yacht. These men 
had grimly asked him to tell exactly how much 
better was Caspar than any other returning 

But the Senator had not given them a long 
fight. In fact, the truth came to him quickly, and 
with almost a blush he had ordered the yacht back 
to her anchorage off the villa. As a matter of 
fact, the trip to Montauk Point had been under- 
taken largely from impulse. Long ago the Sen- 
ator had decided that when his boy returned the 
greeting should have something Spartan in it. 
He would make a welcome such as most soldiers 
get. There should be no flowers and carriages 
when the other poor fellows got none. He 
should consider Caspar as a soldier. That was 
the way to treat a man. But in the end a sharp 
acid of anxiety had worked upon the iron old 
man, until he had ordered the yacht to take him 
out and make a fool of him. The result filled him 
with a chagrin which caused him to delegate to 
the mother and sisters the entire business of suc- 
couring Caspar at Montauk Point Camp. He had 
remained at home conducting the huge correspon- 
dence of an active National politician and waiting 


for this son whom he so loved and whom he so 
wished to be a man of a certain strong, taciturn, 
shrewd ideal. The recent yacht voyage he now 
looked upon as a kind of confession of his weak- 
ness, and he was resolved that no more signs 
should escape him. 

But yet his boy had been down there against 
the enemy and among the fevers. There had 
been grave perils, and his boy must have faced 
them. And he could not prevent himself from 
dreaming through the poetry of fine actions in 
which visions his son's face shone out manly and 
generous. During these periods the people about 
him, accustomed as they were to his silence and 
calm in time of stress, considered that affairs in 
Skowmulligan might be most critical. In no 
other way could they account for this exaggerated 

On the night of Caspar's return he did not go 
to dinner, but had a tray sent to his library, 
where he remained writing. At last he heard the 
spin of the dog-cart's wheels on the gravel of the 
drive, and a moment later there penetrated to 
him the sound of joyful feminine cries. He lit 
another cigar ; he knew that it was now his part 
to bide with dignity the moment when his son 
should shake off that other welcome and come to 


him, He could still hear them ; in their exuber- 
ance they seemed to be capering like school- 
children. He was impatient, but this impatience 
took the form of a polar stolidity. 

Presently there were quick steps and a jubilant 
knock at his door. " Come in," he said. 

In came Caspar, thin, yellow, and in soiled 
khaki. " They almost tore me to pieces," he 
cried, laughing. " They danced around like wild 
things." Then as they shook hands he dutifully 
said " How are you, sir ? " 

" How are you, my boy ? " answered the Senator 
casually but kindly. 

" Better than I might expect, sir," cried Caspar 
cheerfully. " We had a pretty hard time, you 

"You look as if they'd given you a hard 
run," observed the father in a tone of slight 

Caspar was eager to tell. " Yes, sir," he said 
rapidly. " We did, indeed. Why, it was awful. 
We any of us were lucky to get out of it alive. 
It wasn't so much the Spaniards, you know. The 
Army took care of them all right. It was the 
fever and the you know, we couldn't get anything 
to eat. And the mismanagement. Why, it was 


"Yes, I've heard," said the Senator. A certain 
wistful look came into his eyes, but he did not 
allow it to become prominent. Indeed, he sup- 
pressed it. " And you, Caspar ? I suppose you 
did your duty? " 

Caspar answered with becoming modesty. 
" Well, I didn't do more than anybody else, I 
don't suppose, but well, I got along all right, I 

"And this great charge up San Juan Hill?" 
asked the father slowly. " Were you in that ? " 

" Well yes ; I was in it," replied the son. 

The Senator brightened a trifle. "You were, 
eh ? In the front of it ? or just sort of going 

" Well I don't know. I couldn't tell exactly. 
Sometimes I was in front of a lot of them, and 
sometimes I was just sort of going along." 

This time the Senator emphatically brightened. 
" That's all right, then. And of course of course 
you performed your commissary duties correctly ? " 

The question seemed to make Caspar uncom- 
municative and sulky. " I did when there was 
anything to do," he answered. " But the whole 
thing was on the most unbusiness-like basis you 
can imagine. And they wouldn't tell you any- 
thing. Nobody would take time to instruct you 


in your duties, and of course if you didn't know a 
thing your superior officer would swoop down on 
you and ask you why in the deuce such and such 
a thing wasn't done in such and such a way. Of 
course I did the best I could." 

The Senator's countenance had again become 
sombrely indifferent. " I see. But you weren't 
directly rebuked for incapacity, were you ? No ; 
of course you weren't. But I mean did any of 
your superior officers suggest that you were ' no 
good/ or anything of that sort ? I mean did 
you come off with a clean slate ? " 

Caspar took a small time to digest his father's 
meaning. " Oh, yes, sir," he cried at the end of 
his reflection. " The Commissary was in such a 
hopeless mess anyhow that nobody thought of 
doing anything but curse Washington." 

" Of course," rejoined the Senator harshly. 
" But supposing that you had been a competent 
and well-trained commissary officer. What then ? " 

Again the son took time for consideration, and 
in the end deliberately replied " Well, if I had 
been a competent and well-trained Commissary I 
would have sat there and eaten up my heart and 
cursed Washington." 

" Well, then, that's all right. And now about 
this charge up San Juan ? Did any of the Generals 


speak to you afterward and say that you had done 
well ? Didn't any of them see you ? " 

" Why, n n no, I don't suppose they did . . . 
any more than I did them. You see, this charge 
was a big thing and covered lots of ground, and I 
hardly saw anybody excepting a lot of the men." 

" Well, but didn't any of the men see you ? 
Weren't you ahead some of the time leading them 
on and waving your sword ? " 

Caspar burst into laughter. " Why, no. I had 
all I could do to scramble along and try to keep 
up. And I didn't want to go up at all." 

" Why ? " demanded the Senator. 

" Because because the Spaniards were shooting 
so much. And you could see men falling, and the 
bullets rushed around you in by the bushel. And 
then at last it seemed that if we once drove them 
away from the top of the hill there would be less 
danger. So we all went up." 

The Senator chuckled over this description. 
" And you didn't flinch at all ? " 

"Well," rejoined Caspar humorously, " I won't 
say I wasn't frightened." 

" No, of course not. But then you did not let 
anybody know it ? " 

" Of course not." 

" You understand, naturally, that I am bother- 


ing you with all these questions because I desire 
to hear how my only son behaved in the crisis. I 
don't want to worry you with it. But if you went 
through the San Juan charge with credit I'll have 
you made a Major." 

" Well," said Caspar, " I wouldn't say I went 
through that charge with credit. I went through 
it all good enough, but the enlisted men around 
went through in the same way." 

" But weren't you encouraging them and lead- 
ing them on by your example? " 

Caspar smirked. He began to see a point. 
" Well, sir," he said with a charming hesitation. 
" Aw er I well, I dare say I was doing my 
share of it." 

The perfect form of the reply delighted the 
father. He could not endure blatancy ; his admira- 
tion was to be won only by a bashful hero. Now 
he beat his hand impulsively down upon the table. 
" That's what I wanted to know. That's it exactly. 
I'll have you made a Major next week. You've 
found your proper field at last. You stick to the 
Army, Caspar, and I'll back you up. That's the 
thing. In a few years it will be a great career. 
The United States is pretty sure to have an Army 
of about a hundred and fifty thousand men. And 
starting in when you did and with me to back you 


up why, we'll make you a General in seven or 
eight years. That's the ticket. You stay in the 
Army." The Senator's cheek was flushed with 
enthusiasm, and he looked eagerly and confidently 
at his son. 

But Caspar had pulled a long face. " The 
Army ? " he said. " Stay in the Army ? " 

The Senator continued to outline quite rapt- 
urously his idea of the future. " The Army, 
evidently, is just the place for you. You know as 
well as I do that you have not been a howling suc- 
cess, exactly, in anything else which you have tried. 
But now the Army just suits you. It is the kind 
of career which especially suits you. Well, then, 
go in, and go at it hard. Go in to win. Go at it." 

" But " began Caspar. 

The Senator interrupted swiftly. " Oh, don't 
worry about that part of it. I'll take care of all 
that. You won't get jailed in some Arizona 
adobe for the rest of your natural life. There 
won't be much more of that, anyhow ; and besides, 
as I say, I'll look after all that end of it. The 
chance is splendid. A young, healthy and intel- 
ligent man, with the start you've already got, and 
with my backing, can do anything anything! 
There will be a lot of active service oh, yes, I'm 
sure of it and everybody who " 


" But," said Caspar, wan, desperate, heroic, 
" father, I don't care to stay in the Army." 

The Senator lifted his eyes and darkened. 
"What?" he said. " What's that ?" He looked 
at Caspar. 

The son became tightened and wizened like an 
old miser trying to withhold gold. He replied 
with a sort of idiot obstinacy, " I don't care to 
stay in the Army." 

The Senator's jaw clinched down, and he was 
dangerous. But, after all, there was something 
mournful somewhere. " Why, what do you 
mean ? " he asked gruffly. 

" Why, I couldn't get along, you know. The 
the " 

" The what ? " demanded the father, suddenly 
uplifted with thunderous anger. " The what ? " 

Caspar's pain found a sort of outlet in mere 
irresponsible talk. " Well, you know the other 
men, you know. I couldn't get along with them, 
you know. They're peculiar, somehow ; odd ; I 
didn't understand them, and they didn't under- 
stand me. We we didn't hitch, somehow. 
They're a queer lot. They've got funny ideas. 
I don't know how to explain it exactly, but 
somehow I don't like 'em. That's all there is to it. 
They're good fellows enough, I know, but " 


"Oh, well, Caspar," interrupted the Senator. 
Then he seemed to weigh a great fact in his mind. 

" I guess " He paused again in profound 

consideration. "I guess He lit a small, 

brown cigar. " I guess you are no damn good." 



This book is due on the last DATE stamped below. 
To renew by phone, call 429-2756 

JAN 11 77 * 


MAY 12 79 *- 

MAY 2 2 1979 WI1 

DEC 11 1982 

50m-9,'72 (Q4585s8) 3A-1 

PS1449.C85W6 1900 

3 2106 00206 5941